03/24/2012 :   THE END OF THE WEB AS WE KNOW IT?
 
Research reveals a shift in how we get and share information
 
A new report from Pew Research Centre's Internet and American Life Project at the Imagining Center at Elon University has given an insight into future capabilities and trends when it comes to the use of the internet and the increasing popularity of Apps and the mobile channel.
 
Is the Web dead?  No, says the Pew report but analysts expect apps and the web to converge in the cloud with the general consensus being a shift from how we share our information, and the operation of regular information channels such as the web, to those of mobile devices and Apps with mixed views on whether it will be a positive or a negative development.
 
Critic Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard and former White House technology adviser said in the report: “Apps are like cable channels — closed, proprietary, and cleaned-up experiences. I don’t want the world of the Web to end like this. But it will, because people’s expectations have been shaped by companies that view them as consumers. Those giant interests will push every button they can: fear, inexperience, passivity, and willingness to be entertained. And we’ll get a cleaned-up world that we can be perfectly billed for. It’s not good".
 
Pew researchers divulged that in June 2011, the amount of time spent by Americans on Apps surpassed the time those users spent on the Web by seven minutes.  And its gathering momentum, as updated research from ComScore, Alexa and Flurry Analytics showed an increased use of Apps as opposed to the Web to 12 minutes.
 
Senior technology analyst at SRI International, Jeffrey Alexander said the Web "will come to resemble a segment within the ‘app economy' more than the reverse. The current incarnation of the Web will continue to be important for certain kinds of human-computer interaction, particularly those that require sustained attention and a richer media experience."
 
Mobile tools such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks and laptop computers are now a primary source of Internet connectivity in highly developed nations, and the uptake of technology tools in less-developed regions of the world has also been dominated by small, wireless devices outlined the report.
 
“The latest surveys of American adults by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project show that nearly two-thirds connect to the Web via a smartphone, tablet computer, or an on-the-go laptop computer," revealed the Pew report, and "overall, the tech experts participating in this survey generally believe the mobile revolution, the popularity of targeted apps, the monetization of online products and services, and cloud computing innovations will drive Web evolution.”
 
Some survey respondents said: “while much will be gained, perhaps even more may be lost if the “appification” of the Web comes to pass".
 
Certainly worth a read, the full report is accessible via http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Future-of-Apps-and-Web/Overview.aspx