In case you missed the memo, the big story of the week last week (with all due respect to the families who lost loved ones in Orlando) was that kelp is the new kale – and that we’ve reached the saturation point, in terms of apps: people just aren’t downloading them anymore (The app boom is over: Your phone is full of apps, and you’re done downloading new ones — unless they’re Snapchat or Uber. The average American smartphone user downloads zero apps per month.)
Now that we’ve gotten the red herring out of the way, time for the real story of the week: The Web’s Creator Looks to Reinvent It. That would be Tim Berners-Lee. “It controls what people see, creates mechanisms for how people interact,” he said of the modern day web. “It’s been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing people’s content, taking you to the wrong websites — that completely undermines the spirit of helping people create.”
“The project is in its early days, but the discussions — and caliber of the people involved — underscored how the World Wide Web’s direction in recent years has stirred a deep anxiety among some technologists,” the piece continues. “The revelations by Edward J. Snowden that the web has been used by governments for spying and the realization that companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google have become gatekeepers to our digital lives have added to concerns.”
Again, in case you missed it and thank you, Adam Quinton for bringing it to our attention: These 4 charts from Y Combinator show where tech is headed, which points out that “Bitcoin might have peaked, but the blockchain is still hot.”
That’s putting it mildly. Considering the latest Google shenanigans that have come to light (Did Google manipulate search for Hillary? This is perhaps the biggest story we’ve ever reported, said SourceFeed and the video is worth a watch), time to keep a close watch on the blockchain. Of course, Google did deny ‘cooking’ the results and their explanation sounds strangely similar to the Facebook denial about cooking the trending results, when it comes to quashing more conservative news/viewpoints. The algorithm seems to be the mea culpa du jour. In fact, Here Are 10 More Examples of Google Search Results Favorable to Hillary, as compared to other popular search engines.
“The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging. We don’t have a technology problem, we have a social problem,” said Berners-Lee.
We know some of the players who have been involved in the blockchain, pretty much since its inception, and this has always been the intention: to bring the industry back to where it was intended to be: decentralized (which is what the web is, or was, before certain companies dominated it and subverted its original intention). When all else fails, and considering the privacy issues, government intrusion (under whatever pretext and this just in: DEA Wants Inside Your Medical Records to Fight the War on Drugs), et al, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Hard reboot and given the fact that we’re personally an unrepentant optimist, it’s coming. The first whiffs of it are already there, just waiting for what we call the AOL Factor: a turnkey onramp to the new medium. Or next iteration, depending on your view point.
The bubble may or may not be about to pop, but given app saturation and the monopolist/stranglehold practices of the major players who used social to literally create a veritable chokepoint on innovation, remember: tech is and has always been an industry of rebels, at its core. They, too, reach their saturation point and while the mills of the gods grind slowly, grind they do. Greed is bad enough but subverting the Internet into a tool of deception and manipulation, that’s a bridge too far, but as we know, one always has to cover up a crime with an even bigger crime. And they’ve wakened the great gods of the Web.
What does all of this mean: in our humble opinion, that the curtain is slowly coming down on the so-called Social Web, which we prefer to call the Opportunistic Web -as in viruses, which are also are opportunistic. They don’t create: they procreate and grow by feeding on (and usually weakening or destroying) a host. We are fast reaching the saturation point there where, again, the center will not hold. If the recent meeting to which the New York Times article refers is any indication, it seems the creators are back and they have a plan. But that’s what always distinguishes the true visionaries: they’re creative, not parasitic, which has been the basic M.O. of the Social Web: more, more, more, and not necessarily a better experience, at the end of the day. True creators/visionaries push the envelope and hopefully, move the human race forward, to borrow a phrase.
For the record, and note to self: Romaine lettuce is healthier than kale, before you go and force yourself to eat yet another ‘healthy’ snack of overpriced dried kale with sea salt. New is not necessarily innovative. The blockchain has yet to show its true power. And – pun intended – we’re just now looking at the mere tip of the iceberg. Looking forward to what the visionaries have yet to unveil as we move onward and forward.