It’s been over ten years since I first connected to the Internet; back then the Internet was “dialled up” using squawky modems and free CD’s from magazine covers. For a monthly subscription users were provided with slow, unreliable access to an Internet that didn’t seem to serve any particular purpose.
In 1996 music was still purchased on the “high street”, Doctors helped with viruses and if you needed information you looked in a “book”. The Internet was basically a place geeks could discuss Star Trek without being punched in the groin. It was new and people rightfully were wary, it was perceived as a dark and mysterious place where “cookies” could make withdrawals from your bank account and Governments could monitor what you searched “Alta Vista” for.
People didn’t understand what it was and were naturally suspicious of its motives. Luckily in 2007, even your Granddad can successfully access flyfishing.com, and although millions of geeks still argue the correct pronunciation of “hello” in Klingon, the Internet has grown and diversified, bringing together not only people but technologies, and that is where the future of the Internet lies. Mobile Phones, Televisions and even kitchen appliances are now gateways to a high-speed global network.
It is this coming together of technologies which will finally unlock the true potential of the Internet. It is time for web developers (The Architects of the Internet) to rethink how they perceive and harness the power of the internet, web browsing was only the beginning, e-commerce is now as important to retailers as the "high street".
As technologies improve, diversify and evolve, the divide between online and offline will blur or even disappear, imagine a world in which your new car automatically informs the coffee maker your nearing home and the coffee maker reminds the fridge it needs to order in more milk for tomorrows breakfast.
Lets face it the Internet has changed beyond recognition in only ten years, If the web was a human it would still be playing Transformers and drinking fizzy pop - yet its already changed the lives of almost every single person in the world.
I couldn’t of dreamt what it would become in such a short space of time, in the future when I have children of my own, I will find myself reminiscing (via email) about the days before the Internet. I will talk about non Internet cafe's and how we used to buy offline. They will probably LOL at me before downloading their sandwiches and logging onto school.com