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August 20, 2008

Watching the Internet blur into the background

LONDON, UK – Having soaked up what Charlie had to say about One Web Day and the impact the Internet has had on him personally, Nokia, and you, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. Plus, James my other Conversations cohort had some interesting thoughts on how the Internet has and is affecting our lives, so I thought I’d better gatecrash the opinion party.

It’s probably fair of me to assume that this isn’t the first web page you’ve ever visited. If it is, welcome, and I do hope you’ll hang out here for a little while (the Internet is quite the happening destination). Of course, for many of us the Internet is brazenly woven into the fabric of our lives – a tool we’ve learned to adopt and adapt to, ultimately leading us to depend on it in what I believe to be progressive and positive way.

But where next? What does our present and past usage of this relatively untamed, vastly knowledgeable yet relatively infant beast hint towards? Well, I can see it disappearing almost entirely…

Well, in it’s current guise at least.

See, the proliferation of home computing, dial-up, email and the virtual Big Bang of personal and professional websites over the last 20 years or so rapidly established the Internet’s bedrock offerings of faster communication and instant untapped information. The hurdle of broad acceptance and understanding overcome, the path was cleared for an explosion of home broadband, wireless and mobile Internet access enabled the web to become unshackled and accessible almost anywhere.

This is where we are, and this new dawn of digital information delivery, coupled with services such as context aware software blending more seamlessly into hardware and services, means that the Internet no longer becomes the destination, but instead moves towards becoming the backstage crew behind the red curtain, as the apps and mobile devices perform in the limelight with more natural and instinctive interfaces – the notion of logging onto the Internet, opening a web browser becomes a less pronounced, as the information you require is fed to you obliviously and contextually. Or at least that’s how I imagine where we’re headed over the next decade.

The ‘traditional’ Internet slips into the shadows, the information trough deepens, and the ultimate result being a world where we’re brilliantly in touch with relevant information, without worrying about how we get hold of it or where it’s coming from.

Exciting, scary, indifferent? What do you think? I’m sure many of our personal predictions are startlingly different, so post your thoughts below to share where you think it’s all going.

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