Friday, January 9, 2009

Internet and Browser

We can't imagine the world without Internet anymore. It's into our life so deep and even those who would vow against computers unknowingly are so dependent on it. Superstores, ATMs, reservations, where not?

Browsers has been the way we access it. Start with text only like Lynx. Then came Mozilla and IE. And with that started something new. Standards. We started talking about standards. Open standards, to be more specific. Standards are like Law. You are supposed to follow them but if you want to get faster, richer, better than other then you have to bend few and break some. That's what IE did too. And now chrome doing the same. Trying to optimize the browsers in favor of particular format for the content. But that's another debate.

So the content is what makes the Internet. And the content is getting richer by the day. It can be so because the bandwidth is increasingly getting cheaper. We start with text, then images, then videos and now we are already talking about real time streaming HD quality. So will the browsers remain relevant in next decade? I certainly don't think so. We are probably seeing the end of them. In two more years, as enter next decade, they will become much incapable to cope up with the amount of content and the processing required to present it.

How we will be browsing net in next decade?

Before trying to envision that, lets quickly check the kind of data we be dealing with. HD quality video stream, 3 D worlds like SecondLife, IP TV, VoIP, Maps, Gaming, MMOs and MMORPGs. Today we have separate desktop application to deal with each of them. So, of course, a new platform has to come that can present this rich content. That platform needs to be hardware accelerated. That is, it need to take help of your graphics cards and you need to have a good one. Quality graphic cards might be luxury today but so were CD drives and sound cards once. Near future we can expect them so be standard part of motherboards.

Does this mean we will be browsing using sophisticated browser?

Again, we will have to glance back to predict this. With the internet and dot com boom of late 90s a variety of browsers became available. Many couldn't sustain or perform with time and hence, gone obsolete. History will repeat itself. We will have variety of paltforms for rich content delivery. Few will win.

What about standards?

Well, we will gradually start writing standards too but then who will follow them? I will be equivolcal here though. Because we do need standards. And the way it will work in reality will be that there will be some standard and everyone will be deviating away from it. But the deviation will be much controlled and lesser copared to abscence of standards. You can say the variance will be much lesser and that will be a good thing.

Who will be causality?

Browsers shall be first. Then, the technologies that can not support rich contents like XML. Yes, I don't see the future of XML in content delivery. Doesn't mean XML will die. XML will remain and hopefully be used only were its really needed. Next will be the companies, the sites and the platforms which won't support rich contents. Google is slowly moving that direction already. Microsoft made a head start ( we are already seeing early prototypes of photosynth, etc from them).


Changing times ahead. Once this economic depression is over and the IT industry is weeded out of non-IT thinking brains ( there was a time when everybody thought they could code). And with that IT industry will probably come of age. Internet would have penetrated much deeper in out lives. The way we look at computers and internet will change. Because the way computer and internet look will also change. With all this technological biggest casuality will be PRIVACY!!

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