A second Internet revolution? Not really...

A second Internet revolution? Not really...

Summary: While the cognoscenti call it Web 2.0, Gartner calls the next phase of the modern Internet (beginning circa 1995) the "second revolution.

TOPICS: Browser

While the cognoscenti call it Web 2.0, Gartner calls the next phase of the modern Internet (beginning circa 1995) the "second revolution." Instead of mashups, syndication and social media, Gartner’s analysts talk about micropayments, services and Web-enabled communities. They are both talking about the same thing—the Internet is continuing to evolve as the platform for every computing-related activity. It's a continuum, not a second revolution--perhaps a third wave, from pre- and post-bubble and now a new bubble or at least bit of frothiness. 

Speaking to the crowd of IT executives, Gartner analysts James Brancheau and Chuck Abrams didn’t talk about mashups, but described the business impact emerging from a shift in demographics and consumer behavior, combined with technological changes wrought by the Internet. By 2010, every business and organizational activity will revolve around the use of Web-based content and applications, Brancheau said. That’s not any news to the cognoscenti, but for the IT crowd it has some major implications—the old way versus the new way.

Companies of all sizes need to change the way they think about creating products and delivering them to markets, including niche markets riding the long tail. It's not just paying attention to open standards and service-oriented architectures. Tim O’Reilly highlights the core competencies of Web 2.0 companies as follows: 

Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability
Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them
Trusting users as co-developers
Harnessing collective intelligence
Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service
Software above the level of a single device
Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models

Gartner analysts predict that by 2008 the viral effects of Web-enabled communities of interest will bring have a profound effect on product launches, market development and brand equity. It's already happening all over the place today.

Gartner also predicts that by 2007, network-connected opinion leaders will emerge as personalized, trusted recommendation engines for the majority of web users. Again, we are seeing independent bloggers in all kinds of communities who are influencing their peers, corporations and governments. What's lacking are better mechanisms for managing attention, dealing with user data and having relevant information come to you. Search engines need to bring answers, not just links. Advertisements, which fund the Web, need to be personalized on a mass scale.

RSS helps with the attention problem, but that's just a beginning. Gartner coins another term, "techno-foragers"--who are experts at finding content and distributing it through various channels (e.g., RSS, IM, P2P) and social networks. Again, there is an entire generation growing up with that electronic community engagement as part of their daily habit. 

Microcommerce opportunities for new products and services less of than $5 will generate $30 billion in revenue per year by 2010. The iTunes stores is a good example of what's to come, including the battles over ownership, pricing and DRM. 

As Gartner's Chuck Abrams concluded, if you are thinking that you have the Web figured out, you should also consider that you could still be 'Amazoned'--meaning, look what happened to Barnes & Noble. There is no second coming of the Internet--it's been coming for the last 35 years. Nor is there any time for complacency...

Topic: Browser

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  • Evolution over Revolution


    I'm glad you left the part "Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models" 'til last.

    Like the ice dancers who move with such facility, grace, speed, synchronicity, and precision, there is a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears (including, and I'm just being brutally honest here, leaving some behind who could not make the cut) to make it look so easy, so effortless. The creation of lightweight business model interfaces is still a little way off, and to my eye development models is still a mish-mash of ideas that usually compete (often for good reasons - this is not a 'Can't we all just get along' message).

    On the whole I have to agree. Thinking about the Net in terms of phases is misleading - even counter-productive.

    I am still amazed to meet people who crow that the dot-com bust was the end of the Net. One or two have even said to me 'That's the last we'll see of that' - ignoring the fact that every agency business has already been re-invented by the Net (and continues to be...), that every retailer is feeling real financial pain as their customers move more and more to the Net, and that some industries (big global ones too) are finding that they must work together to embrace this phenomenon before its next wave overwhelms their current business models.

    I am cautious on Gartner's forecast for micro-charging. The card companies, of course, have adjusted their industry to cope with some of these small charges - thus squeezing new (Amazon-style) entrants into the payments market. If some of the charges they now handle more readily than they did five years ago were included the micro-payments market would already be much bigger than $30bn.

    Gartners have, of course, had their fingers burned before when they predicted natural growth curves for Net commerce - so they are understandably conservative. Personally, I can see micro-charging growing much faster - and I have advised a micro-payments company on that basis.
    Stephen Wheeler
  • Suing Google

    "Search engines need to bring answers, not just links."

    This would mean that the search engine provider would be responsible for the truthfulness of the information you find.

    How long before someone sues Google because they acted on information that came out as the first entry in a search?

    What Google are doing, clever as it is, is only pattern matching and has no semantic content. People who are claiming otherwise run the risk of being discredited in the same way as many other AI projects have been discredited in the past. First the wild claims, then the painful reality of how hard the task is.
    • AI for the new web

      Well, I have seen very few people willing to claim that what Google does is simple pattern matching. I think you credit the company with too LITTLE intelligence.

      The importance of the comment about search engine links is that, anymore, you really can't trust the returned links to be driven only by hit counts. "Relevance" now means more than that - it is influenced by companies willing to pay Google and other search engines to make their links more prominent.

      I think that's a serious flaw in search technology and search engine users are still not wary enough of it.

      With respect to your comment about discrediting AI projects, I'd suggest that, in Google's case, AI stands for "Advertising-Influenced", and it's anything but a failure.
  • micropayments, lol

    Puh-leeze. No one's going to pay $1.99 to read the news online when a physical paper costs a quarter.

    Forum sites are different, but only slightly. Most people have time to devote themselves to only one pay site at a time, so divide the internet population by the biggest 20 or 30 of them and you'll see how tiny the max income can be.

    Take a hint from the music and movie industries -- pirates rule the seas now.
  • Follow the Money

    Gartner analysts predict things that businesses want to hear. Businesses are in business to make money. Gartner is in business to make money. Gartner makes money by selling predictions on how businesses will make money in the future.

    I?m getting dizzy with all of this?.
    • Good.

      Now, Gartner sells its predictions of what businesses want to hear.

      But when those predictions don't come true, why should companies continue to purchase Gartner's services?

      So, Gartner follows the rules for fortune tellers.

      - Predict the obvious.
      I'll be above following that advice; no example.

      - Think like the buyer.
      If you're telling fortunes, wait and see how the customer reacts and follow that line. Individual variations in thinking are small and quickly identified.
      Companies have taken current trends and extrapolated them, maybe beyond reason. Gartner gets credit for being more specific, with documentation.

      - Identify dramatic moments.
      Giving up on a disappointing person.
      The end of shrink-wrapped software.

      The good news is, giving up on someone is under the control of the customer. If the person decides to do so, the prediction worked. If not, then the person feels empowered, changing fate.

      There will never be an "end" of shrink-wrapped software, of course. But the customer gets to decide when or if the prediction is true enough.

      The disadvantages of the web for some purposes are obvious enough. But if you're a predictor, you have to acknowledge your customer's honeymoon phase.
      What else are they paying you for?
      Anton Philidor
  • Right...

    And the keyboard will be replaced by Voice Recognition, Thin Clients will rule the world, and Utility Computing will kill the home PC.

  • Web-based content

    "By 2010, every business and organizational activity will revolve around the use of Web-based content and applications"

    Right...I don't think so. It'll have a big place, but I think the rich client will dominate, and it has to get away from being html/javascript/http. The http stateless model presents too many issues.

    I think we'll see a resurgence in thin-but-rich, via light-weight Java (or Java-like) clients, combined with new quick-and-easy install/update features to ease administration on corps and spur use by the private consumer.
  • Really more of a very slow evolution, and certainly not replacing anything.

    The internet, while an extremely useful tool, is in no way positioned to become the center-point for corporate computing.

    Frankly, the much acclaimed "thin-clients" are far too weak to be of any use to us, and will not in the foreseeable future replace a rich full client's capabilities. Furthermore, the internet's network functionality and performance are subject to wild fluctuations, and the is simply not dependable.

    As for the idea of trusting an external entity with our critical (and proprietary) data, that is laughable. The major credit cards and banks can not even keep their data safe, and you want us to trust some web start-up with our's? I don't think so!

    Again, while quite useful, the web is more of an adjunct to our existing in-house data center rather than a replacement. It acts as the conduit to the consumer, much like a telephone or the postal mail.

    All of these stories regarding SOA, webified office applications, and replacing clients with web terminals are no more than just smoke spouted by those who wish to sell you the dream.

    Then, like all boiler-room marketeers, they will take your money and run -- leaving you nothing but the pipe-dream.

    • Might replace the sales department

      A major feature of Web 2.0 is that end-users are empowered to talk, not just listen. In fact, they're empowered to set the conversation, not just engage in it. For companies that understand the difference, this might mean eliminating the sales department and expanding marketing, less talking by companies and more active listening.
      And the "long-tail" effect may mean that, rather than focusing on the SUV owners, GM may need to emulate Honda and pay attention to that bottom group again. Maybe there's a new product that every Chinese and Indonesian and Indian will pay $2 for that will net you way more profit than fighting over a few rich customers. For example, cell-phone business in Africa is booming, $25 billion , $0.25 at a time. Who knew?
      I think Peter Drucker referred to business as a way of using external resources to solve external problems. Another dramatic change would be for US companies to tap into EITHER global resources OR global concerns, and break out of being self-centered, myopic, and thinking the concerns and aspirations of the US 6% reflect the concerns and goals of the rest of the planet. Web 2.0, for those who care to listen, is a way to plug into the global culture, and reach customers and partners you'd never have dreamed of before, to find expertise you never new you had, to tackle issues you didn't even realize were issues.

      That's a change.
  • Broadband makes or breaks it.

    Once broadband becomes more common, new approaches become possible, like this approach here, http://www.naltabyte.se/main.asp , which is impossible and useless on a modem, but just as responsive as rich clients are with broadband and IE5+ with pagetransitions activated.
    Broadband makes it possible to 'animate' responses, which is the key benefit with rich clients, where you expect smooth responses, and not twitchy reloadings of the page, as is the case today.