v.22 #5 Is the World Wide Web Dying? And Where Are the Standards for “Apps?”

by Todd Carpenter (Managing Director, NISO, One North Charles Street, Suite 1905, Baltimore, MD 21201; Phone: 301-654-2512; Fax: 410-685-5278)
tcarpenter@niso.org  
www.niso.org

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The print copy of Wired magazine’s September issue arrived in my mailbox with an eye-catching orange cover proclaiming the death of the Web. The feature article by Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff (http:// www.wired.com/magazine/2010/08/ff_webrip/) points out with a colorful graphic that while we may be spending a great deal of time sharing information over the Internet, we are increasingly not using the World Wide Web as our primary interface. We are entering a world where devices, applications, and services are our entry point to content on the Internet.

I am probably a typical example of the behavior described by Anderson. Instead of reading the New York Times or Wall Street Journal in a browser, I have dedicated applications for those publications. I stream Netflix either through an application or via my Wii. iTunes, LastFM, and Pandora are my music portals, as well as where I stream many podcasts and radio shows. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype, where I carry on a fair amount of my communications, are all applications, not plain vanilla browser interfaces. Most, if not all of these, do have browser-based interfaces that I could use but they lack some of the functionality I have come to expect. Although, Anderson’s article was pilloried in some tech circles for its misleading use of graphics (http://www.boingboing.net/2010/08/17/is-the-web-really-de.html), and overstating known trends (http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/17/wired-web-dead/), his article and post highlighted a growing problem with our interactions online, not just for users, but also for content creators, aggregators, and libraries.

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