Monday, May 05, 2008

The Future of The Web

Five years ago, the web was a static environment by and large.  There wasn't the data sharing, and at that, data-focused web applications of today.  We were starting to see the emersion of online retail, which pushed a lot of the technologies that we see today.  Now in truth, the web in 5 years will likely have spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of new technologies and focuses.  But here, I'd like to focus on one area which I believe will drive the tech focus of the next 5 years - GeoLocation.
Even today, we are starting to see the emersion of GPS locationing playing a larger and larger role in the tech hardware, and it is just starting to bump into the web world.  Even in devices with no GPS positioning equipment, several services, like Navizon, can triangulate a position using nearby wifi spots and cell towers. We are quickly arriving at a crossroads, where every device we own can position itself on a global display.  This puts us in an arena where throughout the day, we can position where we are at any given time.  This is a goldmine in so many ways, but where do I see this breaking in the next five years?
One obvious, high monetary yield extension is in advertising.  One of the basic ways that local advertisement still beats out internet advertisement is in the precision targeting of a user.  But if we know where a user is, we can push out interest- and location-relevant advertisements to that user.  This would bump up the ad revenues by huge amounts, and I'm sure Google would be greatly interested in pumping out this technology.  Some possible tech extension also include the ability to merely push out where you are.  GeoTagging on Twitter is actually starting to take off, and provides you the opportunity to see where Twitter users are in a given area, or simply to update your family on where you are.  It may sound ridiculous, but there are truly useful extensions to pushing out that information - imagine a teenager doesn't come home one night, and a mother is terrified.  By logging in to Facebook, they access a secure page on their child's page and they can see - thank god - the Google Map shows her cell phone is at her friends house.  Sure enough, a very preliminary implementation of this does exist - on facebook, in fact.
We are currently at a state where the hardware seems to be solidifying, and there is a demand on the software.  The web world is really where this is going to have to converge.  And whatever other hot technologies are springing up in 2013-web, I think a central focus of all these applications - from pure application functionality down to advertisements - is going to have to be GeoLocation.

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