The Next Net

Nowadays, Web 2.0 is a buzzword. Silicon Valley is steaming up again with excitement and a new breed of start-ups. While people are still trying to define what Web 2.0 means exactly, the word is often associated with Technorati, del.icio.us, and Flickr.

Yet, the Web is evolving quickly beyond the early pioneers into The Next Net phenomenon. The featured article by the latest Business 2.0 “The Next Net 25” defines Web 2.0 in the following five categories:

  1. Social Media that allows everyone to create content on the Web including articles, music, and video
  2. Mashups and Filters that mix, match and filter the information on the Web
  3. Internet Phones that make phone calls affordable anywhere around the world
  4. The Webtop Applications that make use of ubiquitous broadband connection
  5. Web-based Software Platforms and Tools that make The Next Net possible

Most of these things are already happening around us. For example, I am a heavy user of Gather – the social networking and blogging site that mirrors MySpace for teenagers. The Job search sites Indeed and SimplyHired look really cool to me. I have used Skype to call my family in China for free since long ago. Having seen the demo of Zimbra, I am very much convinced we are coming to an age that the webtop makes more sense than the desktop.

However, the biggest question is still the business model. Most of these sites are not making money at this time, hoping to flip to the big guys such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Amazon, and eBay. But, was that what people were hoping for only “a bubble ago?”

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17 thoughts on “The Next Net

  1. Whilhelmine,

    Even we are moving to the webtops, we still need computers. It just means we are connected to the Internet all the time. Instead of using Outlook, we may use other applications that are web-based.

  2. Interesting. But, Helen, please don’t tell me desktops are passe. I just spent half a year’s pension check on a new Dell, wit ha flat panel dispaly.

  3. Hey Helen – We’re on the same wavelength. One of the things that I see as the “most 2.0” trend is how we seem predestined to make personal connections online that wind up being beneficial to both parties in a business sense as well as in a personal sense.

    Although the buzzword “social networking” is all over the place, the name seems to miss the mark. It doesn’t really cover the cooperation that we find in networks and wikis and the like, or the blog-boosting we’re talking about in the Gather article at http://tinyurl.com/lllqn

    In any case, I like the trend.

  4. I am an idiot when it comes to tech-speak…I can barely use this here electronic typewriter…ding…so I can’t say much…but I like to see your smiling face…does this count for anything? ;o)

  5. Great article, Helen! With progress now being made exponentially, it won’t be long before we have more than we want. My city already has a proposal on the table to go wireless – citywide. The cable companies aren’t too pleased, but I think it will happen. And, yes, nice smile!

  6. I think the really big move will be to what you are calling ‘webtop’ computing which I think is referred to in the tech mags as “thin client” systems. In either case, meaning that the work horse software lives out on the web and we connect to use it, rather than buy it for our computers and use it locally.

    I also agree that it is the ‘business model’ that is the big question. Who pays what for what? I hope that we can find a resolution to this aspect and reap the benefits possible. Of course even with the growth in broadband access we are still a long way from ‘full speed network acess for every computer.” That means we still have time to figure out a solution.

    Sponsorship may be one route. Google proved that ‘sponsor supported’ utilities can pay off for all parties, but is that only true for them because they are dealing in ‘seekers’ and have found a way to match sources and seekers quite well? How much value would there be to being in a ‘left side links panel’ on a word processor? I see that Gather’s Links panel is primarily used by folks aiming at an educated, somewhat upscale market demographic. Will it work for them? Only time will tell.

    Could the market for sponsorships outstrip the needs of sponsors? Quite possibly! But as the web becomes even more ubiquitous, viable opportunities for more and more mundane products should increase also,so things may balance out.

    ‘Pay per use’ is also looking more viable as electronics improve the ability to profitably do ‘small value’ transacations. Fees are still a pretty large part of small transactions when you look at individual transactions, but when you look at all the infrastructure savings that can arise from digital download of many goods like books, movies, songs, or from the online use of much software, and the direct from the factory or warehouse delivery of ‘hard’ goods, these transaction cost are often pretty easily absorbed.

  7. Hi Helen,

    I realise only just now you’re an ict geek too. We seem to have more in common 🙂

    Take care,

    Big brother..

  8. It takes time to fully grasp what Web 2.0 really is but I’m slowly getting there and I love it. Love the idea of being able to access my stuff no matter where I am…sharing links with my friends or the whole world for that matter…et cetera.
    It is very interesting to follow its evolvement…especially Google and Yahoo and I am really looking forward to seeing what the former is going to do with their new ‘Pagebuilder’.

  9. I’m looking forward to the emergence of “webtop” applications such as the online word processor, Writely.com, which was recently acquired by Google. It would be so awesome if there was a completely web-based office suite that had all the capabilities of Microsoft Office.

  10. Klas from MyWebDesktop.net

    Thanks for a good post Helen. I believe these are extremely interesting times, so many great services being launched.

    I believe that one of the main reasons for any application to be webbased is collaboration. Our vision is to build “Your personal online hub for access, collaboration and communication”

    Businessmodel – that is a tricky one. I believe paying based upon usage is one of the most interesting alternatives when we talk about applications. Ads are perfect for search, but probably annoying when using an application.

    Klas