The Web Is So Last Year

Posted by Rachel Landes

A few weeks ago, I was getting a quick workout in at the Bell Center. On the wall in front of all the cardio machines are three large, flat screen televisions. One is usually set to CNN, another to ESPN and the third to a miscellaneous channel. I try to consume myself in my workout to the point where I don’t notice the TV’s, but this time something caught my attention.

One of the many CNN daytime programs displayed the headline: Wired Magazine says “The Web is Dead.” I was intrigued by the bold statement, and actually found myself unplugging my headphones from my iPod and plugging into the remote headphone jack attached to the treadmill. The conversation only lasted a matter of ten minutes, but was interested enough by the host and the guest’s comments that I logged on to Wired’s website to investigate a little further.

What I found in the article was both enlightening and not entirely surprising. In essence, the tech-savvy folks at Wired say consumers today are more about the “getting” of information than “browsing.”

Shocking, right? Ya, I didn’t think so either.

What was interesting was the emphasis and importance the article placed on mobile apps. The article begins with a nice anecdote about how we spend our days on the Internet via apps, but not necessarily on the World Wide Web. The revolutionary iPhone model, they say, is the reason so many of us have turned to “mobile computing.” Again, not exactly shocking to my generation.

Although not an iPhone owner, I still understand and appreciate the ease of apps. I’m currently a BlackBerry user, and although there are BlackBerry apps, iPhone interfaces much easier with apps. Sometimes I wish it were easier to obtain information via the Internet without having to open my phone’s browser. Enter stage left: apps. They’re not completely new to most of us, but it wasn’t until reading this article that I realized how central they are in so many people’s lives (see Hilary Dietz’s post regarding the new Starbucks app). They do exactly what a technological revolution is supposed to: make everyday life easier. They’re fun, they’re addictive and according to Wired, they’re the future of the Internet.

The cherry on top of the app revolution is the door it has opened for companies to make a profit. Many apps are free, but many still charge a nominal fee. Nevertheless, consumers still buy into thousands of apps daily. This excerpt from the article sums it up well:

“Now it’s the Web’s turn to face the pressure for profits and the walled gardens that bring them. Openness is a wonderful thing in the nonmonetary economy of peer production. But eventually our tolerance for the delirious chaos of infinite competition finds its limits. Much as we love freedom and choice, we also love things that just work, reliably and seamlessly. And if we have to pay for what we love, well, that increasingly seems OK. Have you looked at your cell phone or cable bill lately?”

In fact, the next time you do need to check up on that creeping cell phone bill, don’t fret. I’m sure Steve Jobs and Co. have an app for that.

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