Whatever you may thing about the changes that are taking place, it’s pretty clear that the Internet is evolving. Some of use still remember what browsing was like when Netscape was the dominant browsing tool, before new sites like Yahoo! And Google came along to offer a way to search across the whole Internet according to keywords. Now, some of those early search engines are gone, and social media are beginning to take their place as the new way to find everything.
It wasn’t two years ago that Google released its own browser for public use, even as sites like Facebook and Twitter were growing into the dominant ways to keep up with friends online. Now, these two have made it possible to find all kinds of people and subjects within their services, beyond one’s friends, so that they are developing as more than just a place to hang with friends.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the future, because it’s very clear that the Internet isn’t what it was ten years ago, let alone twenty or so when it was begun. The programming for Facebook started out as a site where people compared Harvard students in regards to who was more attractive. Now it’s the dominant social media tool on the World Wide Web. If a single website can change that much in seven years, there’s no way to know what the Internet will look like ten years from now.
It might actually be easier to guess what it will be in fifty years or more. Science fiction has often proven a reliable guide for when people’s innovations would take them later on (everybody’s heard of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus, for one). Stories like Star Trek may be a more solid indicator of what the Internet will eventually become than the estimations of the most astute computer tycoons.
Whatever the eventual result, everyone is certainly in for an interesting ride in the meantime. In spite of what some people may say, the Browser Wars are not over, and there’s no telling what new possibilities will appear next year for that or any other part of the Web. Even the Wikis might grow beyond what people use them for right now.
We’ll just have to wait and see.