Blake Snow, FoxNews.com (January 7, 2012)
"One Internet, under no one -- but divisible after all.
"If there's one thing 2011 will be remembered for, it'll be the year the Internet split in half.
"In one corner, we have the traditional web, the one you've known and loved since the 90s. In the other corner, there's the 'app' or mobile Internet. It's the one ushered in by the iPhone, and it grew to record levels last year with help from Android, iPads, and tablets.
"And increasingly, there's different stuff on them...."
There's more, about "traditional" Internet content that's viewed with a browser, mobile applications on smartphones and tablets: and what a huge difference there is between the data that's accessed, depending on what system gets used.
Engadget editor-in-chief Tim Stevens gets quoted, saying that five or 10 years ago, folks were excited about new websites: and now the excitement is over new apps. As far as the Lemming can tell, the data folks see isn't all that different: the difference is in the software that they use.
And that apparently means that developers need to decide whether to concentrate on 'Web' content, or 'app' content.
Up to that point, the article's tone is fairly calm.
"Shattering?""...But the web isn't just dividing in two, Stevens said. It's shattering.
" 'I wish it were just splitting,' he told FoxNews.com. 'But the reality is the Internet is actually fragmenting into many small pieces. Apple's iOS and Google's Android are the most popular mobile operating systems, but there's also Microsoft's Windows Phone, Blackberry, HP's webOS and even specific apps for Google's Chrome browser.'
"A clear example is Shazam, one of the first must-have smartphone apps for its ability to quickly identify unknown songs. Four years ago, it was only available on iPhone, though coveted by users on the traditional desktop Internet.
"The app's relevance has since faded. But platform exclusive apps are alive and well today. For example, Adobe Flash software, Google Navigation, and third-party app stores are exclusive to Android...."
(Blake Snow, FoxNews.com)
"Shattering" is a dramatic, emotional, word. Someone whose business depends on developing apps, or websites, or browsers, may feel like their world is "shattering," now that some folks use Blackberry, some an iPhone, and others an Android.
Folks like the Lemming, who create content? Maybe not so much.
A few years ago, the Lemming decided to concentrate on content instead of chasing the latest tech fashions. Which isn't the same as ignoring changes in information technology.
Mobile devices are definitely out there, but the Lemming's stuff is mostly viewed with folks using browsers and some sort of computer. For example, so far this month a little over two thirds of all viewers used Windows, about an eighth had Macintosh systems, a tenth had Linux, and a bit over one percent each used iPhone, Ipad, or Android technology.
Change Happens - - -"...Not everyone that the Internet is 'dividing,' however.
" 'We're arguing about different front-ends here,' says popular TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler. 'While apps and the web sometimes seem at odds with one another, it's important to remember that all are being powered by the same thing: the Internet.'
"Indeed, mobile apps and traditional websites often access the same servers, databases, and file protocols. But even Siegler admits to diverging uses for the modern Internet....
"...Semantics aside, resources being allocated to the Internet - whether web, mobile, or otherwise - are undeniably being split to follow the money...."
(Blake Snow, FoxNews.com)
There's more about the economic angle. Also a few anecdotes: which may have some truth behind them.
- - - Deal With ItRemember the 'good old days' of the Web, when earnest folks called themselves webmasters and told viewers which browser they should use?
"Best if viewed by [browser] at [resolution]" announcements aren't all that common today. Partly, the Lemming suspects, because too many viewers wouldn't change browsers to accommodate some developer's tastes. Worse, from the control-freak point of view, some folks actually preferred websites that didn't look good in [browser], at [resolution], and were hard to view in anything else.
'It's different' with today's apps: many of which apparently won't even work if someone has the 'wrong' sort of mobile device. Still, the Lemming thinks this could be the start of another 'war of the operating systems,' like the situation we had around 1995:
(Scott Adams' Dilbert (June 22, 1996), used w/o permission)
Around that time the Lemming was doing tech support work, and talked with someone who said - quite seriously - 'nobody uses Windows.'
Maybe this time around, folks in the tech end of information technology will decide on an 'industry standard' for mobile device interfaces. On the other hand, maybe someone will decide to woo the 'snob' market and peddle overpriced 'iSnubs' with solid gold cases and a keypad of matched diamonds.
If that happens, the Lemming thinks most of the rest of us will get by with something a tad more practical. And affordable.
More likely, we'll see more mobile devices that load relatively small amounts of content very quickly: and 'traditional' browsers that load large amounts of content fairly quickly. And, unless human nature changes, some folks will praise their browsers and sneer at apps; while others do the opposite.
Sensible folks will decide what technology best suits their needs, and use that.
Dead Web?Finally, some good sense from Black Snow. Ryan and Derik are two teenagers mentioned in another part of Snow's piece:
"...When doing research and content creation, the traditional web environment is still ideal, most agree. Which explains why Ryan still reaches for the traditional web first when searching for cars to buy, multitasking, or writing.
"Conversely, it also explains why people like Derick, more interested in consuming information on a casual basis, reach for their iPhone first....
"...Translation: Apps will enjoy more and more features at the expense of websites overall. No, the web isn't dead, despite a loud proclamation from Wired Magazine. It's actually growing in places. Just not as quickly overall as the app and mobile Internet...."
(Blake Snow, FoxNews.com)
That makes sense, to the Lemming. Maybe the Lemming will start focusing more on content that's best viewed by some app. But not today. Or, most likely, this year.
Tech, Content, and CongressWhat concerns the Lemming isn't so much the technology folks use, or the sort of content they produce and view: it's the way Congress keeps trying to 'protect' us from the Internet.
The Lemming likes freedom of expression: and that's another topic.
- "SOPA: 20 Reasons Why It's a Really Bad Idea"
(December 30, 2011)
- "Lemming Tracks: The Continuing 'Death' of Blogging, Hula Hoops, and Getting a Grip"
(August 28, 2011)
- "FCC, the Internet, Regulations, Freedom of Speech, and a Ranting Lemming"
(December 23, 2010)
- "Blogging is Dead! Long Live Blogging!"
(December 16, 2010)
- "The Death of Communication Media!!!"
(August 24, 2007)