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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Where is the Web Headed in 2018?

Technology waves follow a pattern, starting with the development of infrastructure and platform and culminating in diverse applications. The invention of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1440 was a watershed event in the history of information development. It spurred the creation of books and newspapers that transformed the socio-religious and political milieu of the times and laid the groundwork for the advent of radio and television in the early 20th century and the Age of Information, popularly known as the Computer Age, in the later part of the century.

Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN, invented the worldwide web in 1989 to facilitate automatic sharing of information between universities and research institutes across the world. Netscape capitalized on this infrastructure to offer Web 1.0 services, in what signaled the first stage of the internet. Web 1.0 was static like a library as it allowed a person to merely search and not modify any information. Mobile social web or web 2.0 marked the next stage of internet development as it focused on collaboration and sharing through social networks and communication tools. During this platform phase, companies such as Microsoft and Facebook orchestrated an explosion in the understanding and sharing of information. Web 3.0 is the next stage in the evolution of the internet.

Web 3.0 will be a personal assistant that searches online information and ferrets out the necessary information from the mountain of facts through curated technology. Specify one’s requirements and web 3.0 will provide precise details! For example, merely tell the web that you want a vacation during the Christmas season at a particular place and for a specific price and it will find the best flight deals, hotel packages, and restaurants in the area. This would be a huge improvement from the present scenario when search engines search for keywords and throw up tonnes of both related and unrelated information.

The internet is a huge body of information indeed. Google algorithmically searches billions of web pages and provides abundant information at the click of a button. But it has its limitations. The Google search engine is a handy tool for a person who knows his mind. But someone who is not specific about his query could easily lose his way through the web of information. Curated Web could be the solution to this problem. If Web 1.0 was a one-way street of content creation and transmission, and Web 2.0 involved the mutual sharing of content, Web 3.0 will be synonymous with a curated web as curators carefully and decisively choose the best that’s available.

Curated web is already around, albeit on a minuscule scale. is inarguably the most prominent curated content website today. The editors of curate the most captivating content of the day, drawing from diverse fields such as entertainment, politics and technology. is known for news, discussions, opinions and viral content. YouTube curates millions of videos added daily to find interesting stuff based on individual viewing habits.

Contextual technology would be another step in the evolution of the web as websites would understand and respond to human needs and the environment. A website design service called Grid is offering self-mutating websites that change their design as per new additions and user types; more such services will definitely join the pipeline.

The internet may also be headed to a Splinternet. As an experience of the internet in the USA is different from that in Australia, global internet giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Netflix will be compelled to provide region-specific content or splinternet.

The rise in mobile devices is a game changer in web development. The rapid spread of mobile phones has led to a sea change in online behavior, with people shifting allegiance from web surfing to visiting individual apps. Facebook promptly spotted this trend and invested in an app version and so have other social networking platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Mobile devices have triggered a huge shift from native mobile apps and desktop software to stronger and more responsive client-side applications. Node.JS is being touted as the future of real-time web applications due to its ability to channelize data to clients in real-time and NodeJS Training is gaining immense popularity as a result.

The websites of the future will be designed around mobile phones, tablets and VR as desktops are likely to become obsolete in the next 10 to 15 years. They will incorporate some form of artificial intelligence that will recognize a person and other information culled from digital footprint. The design will blend with wearable tech and be permeated with engaging virtual reality experiences. Immersive VR will enable a person to step virtually into and experience a car or a new apartment before actually making a purchase.

The blend of augmented reality, digital physical interaction and immersive environments will have a huge impact on our experience of web design. As computing becomes more advanced by the day, it will drastically change the manner in which we create and interact with content. Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future, so said the famed physicist and Nobel laureate, Nils Bohr. And predicting the future of the web is fraught with uncertainty, going by the phenomenal pace of technological growth. One can only be sure that the future is ripe with possibilities and novelties.

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