Posted by: Vala Shahabi | January 30, 2014

Give the Web Mouth-to-Mouth

In 2010 Wired magazine claimed the Web is Dead.  This is the same year smartphone sales in the United States started surpassing those of traditional computers.  Truth is, neither the Web or PCs are dead, however they are slowly dying.  Globally, 2014 will be the year mobile will triumph the desktop. The desktop web can’t breath so this is how we give it mouth-to-mouth.

Global Mobile vs Desktop users

Global Mobile vs Desktop users

If you think about it, you can pretty much do the same thing on your little smartphone than you can on your computer so why would anyone bother firing up their computer to checkout a website? This is exactly where the problem is. The desktop web has become so boring that you can get the same experience, if not better, on a mobile device. We don’t prefer to watch TV on our small screen. TVs just get bigger and bigger. I used to have a 37” TV but now I have a 60” TV.  The problem is the lack of significant innovation on the web since AJAX was born in 2005.  We’re still stuck on Web 2.0 with the same technologies of nine years ago.  In the last nine years website have gotten smarter, faster, and more advanced but the experience has remained the same: boring.

Desktop vs Mobile

Desktop vs Mobile

It’s time for innovation.  It’s time for a new way we interact with websites based on a completely personal experience. The underlying technology to support this exists today in Websockets.  Websockets are unique because it creates a direct, full duplex (send and receive on a single connection) connection between the web browser and the web server.  The Websocket protocol makes possible more interaction between the browser and web site, creating the ability to provide a unique experience for every visitor. Some of these possibilities include:

  • Pushing specific content to user (audio, video, images, text).  Imagine providing a VIP experience to a specific user based on their behavior on your site
  • Creating a text, video, or voice chat engagement with the user
  • Providing content based on mouse position (no clicks). Imagine an online shopping experience based on just moving your mouse around without having to click or drag.
  • Direct user-to-user interaction in real time (chat, group chat, live polls, live comments, etc).
  • Engaging real time dashboards and SaaS applications

The possibilities are endless to create a Web 3.0 experience. Although it’s still early, we’re starting to see some momentum in this field with publishers such as the NY Times and Huffingtonpost. All we need are some brilliant ideas of what to do with these capabilities and some smart developers to make it happen. The goal is to make a more engaging web experience that requires a larger screen to consume. I am currently seeking out such people to help bring the web back to life and change the way we interact with the web.

Disclosure: I have recently left Akamai to work at Realtime. Realtime has built a highly scalable platform based on websockets to deliver messages and data in realtime, which I believe is the future of the internet.

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