Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

The Future of the Web, Part 2

As I mentioned in last month's newsletter, this is by no means a comprehensive overview of the possible future of the web. There are plenty of general themes and specific technologies that I won't cover, and among those that I do cover, probably some disagreement on the finer points, especially in this portion. I welcome your feedback, suggestions, and corrections!


Robert | November 17, 2009 12:48 AM
Hi Chris,you are doing a great job by concerning about the future technology.I have gone through this article fully,it was very interesting and also made me amazed at the future of the mobile technology.It was quite interesting to view the account balance in the debit card itself.

Now the technology has gone beyond our thoughts,because i have reviewed one technological book where the person can do their shopping with the means of his mobile itself.It is not necessary to bring the debit card and do the shopping.With the help of the gprs service in our mobile,We can able to log in by typing the pin number and have to show the mobile to the sensor.The sensor will sense the account balance of the user and it will the debit the purchasing amount from the account.By this technology,the user can be more secured than using the debit card.

So chris,once again thank you for a technological post.You have to post many more articles regarding the future technology.I am always looking for a technology stuff and as u mentioned mobile technology is becoming the future of the technology.Continue your good work mate.
Christopher Butler | November 12, 2009 8:34 AM
@Norton, I didn't mean to be contradictory. I think the difference is this: when you publish information about yourself online, it's often contextual (i.e. career-related on LinkedIn, personal on Facebook, etc.). So, the truth about you in those contexts will out. Augmented reality would present the same scenario-- legitimate reviews of a restaurant being made available in living context to interested prospective diners. Where it might get dangerous is if networks like Facebook decided to open their data to a similar application which would enable anyone to identify and 'stalk' another person simply by capturing their image on a smartphone. At some point, we have to entertain such scenarios and decide whether that's a future we all feel comfortable with. The restaurant scenario seems fine to me, but the one in which I might be cyberstalked by a person within striking distance does not inspire me with anticipation for such a future.
Norton | November 11, 2009 11:01 PM
I thought that the privacy element opens the door on the augmented reality ideas. It's funny that you don't like the idea of augmented reality apps revealing personal identity in any way, but you also include the quote about if you don't want people to know you're a dog, you'd better stay away from a keyboard, so I'm not sure what to think. Obviously we have to make up our own minds.
Christopher Butler | July 30, 2009 11:45 AM
@Alex, Thanks for your enthusiasm! As I re-read both parts, I think I agree with you.

@JT, Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was longer than our typical newsletter. My guess is that next month's will be a bit shorter.
JT | July 29, 2009 9:53 PM
After I finished reading page 2 (on privacy), I realized that this was the longest article I've read in a long time online that has held my attention! A very engaging piece- not what I'd expect from a web development company, but I like it.
Alex | July 29, 2009 9:29 PM
Love this kind of stuff!!! I must say that Part 2 was more interesting to me than Part 1. I'm glad to see that there are some people thinking about more than just the next cool gadget.
Christopher Butler | July 29, 2009 2:20 PM

Yes, let's talk! You should come to the next hipster philosophy meetup ;-)

The digital conservation concept is somewhat a partially-formed idea at this point, especially bearing in mind what you mentioned as far as whether taking a conservationist approach to the digital life would affect our bottom line. It's an interesting thought, though at the moment, I'm not too worried about it. After all, I'm not at all encouraging people to disconnect completely. Just today at lunch, some of us at Newfangled were discussing things about the internet that are truly wonderful- iTunes University, for example, where you can audit incredible courses from colleges all over the United States. I just finished the Geography of World Cultures course from Stanford University, a ten-lecture course which I downloaded and listened to while at the gym. There's incredible value in something like that, which is ultimately the foundation of Newfangled's philosophy- to offer true value rather than manufacturing need for our services.

As far as the level of skepticism that comes across in articles like this one, I'd rather have us perceived as taking a human, nuanced approach to technology and how it is used than as over-enthusiastic evangelists for every new tool or toy that comes around. I think that builds trust within our network and probably will benefit our business over time.

Thanks for reading!

Scott Ickes | July 29, 2009 1:51 PM

Nice work on your article. The concept of a digital conservation movement is incredibly appealing. Sometime I'd like to talk with you about how your forward thinking approaches to digital conservation might affect Newfangled's business... i.e. does the VP of web development company want to see people restrict their internet usage?

You're a great writer, and the article was nice to follow. Thanks for doing it.

Richard | July 29, 2009 1:39 PM
Chris, thx for the mention. I'm enjoying reading your thoughts on privacy, especially ownership stuff. We went down this road of "content is king" for a few years now, obsessed with creating stuff to be spidered so that eventually traffic will increase to our sites. But who really benefits? We're eventually going to realize that we've been feeding gooogle, not ourselves.
Christopher Butler | July 29, 2009 12:14 PM
@Jillian, Thanks for reading- glad it prompted some thought.

@JudyTrolley, Perhaps you're right. After all, the augmented reality apps won't be able to tell you any more than is already online. But as I said, in order to get that kind of information now, you have to know of a person already, then perform some searches and tie it all together yourself. With an application like the one I illustrated, you could just point your camera at anyone and learn quite a bit. This will surely quicken our opinion on the matter, and my sense is that most people will feel uncomfortable with it. If it causes people to give some more thought to what they reveal online, that would be better than a whole realm of "digital masking" technology being the response.
Nolan | July 29, 2009 12:10 PM
Google is taking the environment serious and they revealed something very cool that they are doing with the data centers.

On of the major problem with data centers is that the racks of servers generate a LOT of heat, and the server rooms need to be kept cool. To keep the servers from overheating, they pump some serious air conditioning into these rooms, which takes massive amounts of energy.

The first thing that Google does to offset this is they try to build data centers in cooler, temperate climates (like Dalles, OR and Lenoir, NC). Less heat outside means less cooling needed inside.

The second thing, and this blew me away when I read it, is that when it gets too hot outside for one of the data center, Google simply turns the data center off and transfers the load elsewhere. With the distributed infrastructure--the "cloud", if you will--that Google operates, this happens seamelessly.

There is even scientific discussion of 'follow-the-moon' strategies where you turn the data center off in the day and let them run during the night. I wouldn't be surprised if Google adopted something like this someday.

Luckily for both the corporations and the environmentalists is that their wants converge with data centers. It is in the bottom line's best interest to not run these giant chillers and to operate more energy-efficient servers (i.e., less energy costs) which makes for a happy Mother Earth at the same time.
Russ | July 29, 2009 12:08 PM
Nice post Chris. I am sure the founding fathers of this country never imagined technology advances that we see today. PS - I love the GoogleMeter application. that is cool.
Christopher Butler | July 29, 2009 11:55 AM

Thanks! Did you end up taking the survey? If so, what concern did you pick?

The environmental issues around the web are tricky, I think because we have a basic perception problem in our culture. We've built our cities and towns in a way that hides our consumption well- we have vehicles that come and pick up our trash and then drop them at landfills, which for the most part are unseen by the average person, and as you point out, we don't have a realistic sense of just how much we consume and who/what we depend upon for those resources. The same is true with the infrastructure that supports the web. We sort of assume that the web is infinitely scalable because it's "just information," but the fact is that the more information we create in the web, the more data centers are needed to support it.

We could probably help with the perception problem by killing off the "cloud" moniker and replacing it with something that is not necessarily negative, but more realistic. My cynical suggestions were in a blog post back in April when I wrote, "Is 'the cloud' really the right metaphor? What about the 'the attic?' or maybe it should be the 'the landfill?'"

Katie | July 29, 2009 11:46 AM
Hi Chris, I love that you've focused on environmental impact of the web in this article. As your survey results confirm, we are completely insulated from the resources required for our consumption and creation of media. I would love to see a future blog post or newsletter focusing on this even further.

Great article!
Christopher Butler | July 29, 2009 11:40 AM

Thanks for including that link. I enjoyed that promotion a lot when you first showed it to me back in March.

GE's promo is similar to what the IKEA video is showing- with using webcams to allow you to "demo" furniture in your own home (that's linked on the last page of this newsletter).

Judy Trolley | July 29, 2009 11:32 AM
The privacy angle sheds some light on the augmented reality stuff. You don't like the idea of augmented reality apps revealing personal identity, but you also include the quote about if you don't want people to know you're a dog, you'd better stay away from a keyboard. So, the truth will out, and that's good. I feel like if augmented reality apps can show what's true about somebody, we should be ok with that.
Jillian Kuhn | July 29, 2009 11:30 AM
Really nice work, Chris. I don't usually share your intense interest in the future, but this definitely makes me think and reevaluate my online presence. One of my favorite newsletters so far!
Brian Chiou | July 29, 2009 10:48 AM

An example of augmented reality that you can have fun with :)

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