Like I said yesterday, Wired’s article is already making waves. Chris Anderson was interviewed on NPR about it this morning and this afternoon it made the news crawl on CNN.
One thing I like from the NPR interview is that Chris mentioned that by dead he’s talking about Web transitioning to Mobile. Which in a way is very true. Although he still talks about how applications rule and that they will kill the web.
Here’s an experiment to see if he’s right: Use only apps, no web browser.
Go 2 days without ever opening Firefox, IE, or safari, chrome, etc.
Don’t use Google (it’s a WEB page).
Try getting the things you want done with only dedicated web apps. No diversity of the millions of online web pages, just the 20 or so apps you can load before your phone fills up.
Don’t be fooled by apps that redirect you to a browser, they’re cheating.
Basically Chris’s prediction of the future of the web is where the multiverse of web pages is boiled down to a handful of corporate apps that port and filter the web for you. Much like the archaic AOL days in internet prehistory. And that scares the shit out of me.
Luckily he’s wrong!
Rob Beschizza edited the fact distorting graph used by Chris for the wired article to better fit reality. Pay close attention to the red “web traffic” That is “dying”. This is just the same graph but adjusted using the same data used for Wired’s article to reflect the actual amount of traffic passed in each category.
In Wired’s article it shows web use as a percentage against other high bandwidth internet traffic. Now that we can see the actual amount of web traffic we can see that in the last 5 years the web has almost tripled. Rob summed up Cisco’s data best:
Assuming that this crudely renormalized graph is at all accurate, it doesn’t even seem to be the case that the web’s ongoing growth has slowed. It’s rather been joined by even more explosive growth in file-sharing and video, which is often embedded in the web in any case.
In regards to using “bandwidth” to measure the value of internet traffic.
Does 50MB of YouTube kitteh represent more meaningful growth than a 5MB Wired feature?
It’s worth noting that we’re talking generalized numbers and graphs and that there will be a bit of variation in the data. But the web is still a LONG way from dying. Harry McCracken at Technologizer has another great article pointing out other technologies that have “died” recently (Hint Facebook died 2 years ago but Vinyl is alive and well).
This is one of the reasons I quit subscribing to Wired. Idiotic, sensationalizing, articles.
Now I fully appreciated the irony that I complain about Wired sensationalizing articles to draw viewers; and that by posting this I’m part of the problem, taking the bait hook line and sinker. But this article is going to be splayed across the internet and the news simply because of the source, and it needs to be killed now.
It’s the same tired argument that has been out since the iPhone and has sped up since the iPad. “Apps” and online video streaming are going to take over the internet and surfing web pages as we know it will cease to exist. Basically Chris is channeling a Steve Jobs presentation (or even plagiarizing one).
As much as we love the open, unfettered Web, we’re abandoning it for simpler, sleeker services that just work. -Chris Anderson
At least he didn’t call the services “magical”.
The graphic showing a shrinking web is hard to ignore, and I heard that 95% of online stats aren’t made up or distorted.
The reasons to scoff at head editor Chris Anderson as a moron?
1. The diagram is from 1995 (i.e. 7 years before most people used the internet), to 2005 (i.e. half a decade ago, 2 years before Job’s iPhone app revolution).
In Chris’s defense, 2005 was before the magical apps and services Chris describes even existed so they wouldn’t show yet.
2. “Web” is used here for a general catch-all that fits alot of very different and dynamic services.
3. Anybody with an office job knows that email rules the word. Even including spam it shows up non-existent on this graph. Pointing to how this graph doesn’t reflect reality of the web.
4. Apps and services are just a frontend to parse web data. The web is still there, you’re just using a very specialized browser to access it. The Facebook app is nothing without the Facebook itself.
5. The MAIN problem with the graph is that it is a measurement of bits of traffic and not representative of the web experience.
Text on the internet is the smallest part of it. This entire article takes up the same space as a 1”x1” image. On a boring static webpage the images take up 90% of the space. To put this in perspective in 2006 Wikipedia (the entire thing) was 1.2 Terabytes in size; the whole thing could fit on one large hard drive (can you say real life HHG2G?).
Videos on the internet take up MUCH more space than anything else, especially if you’re watching a HQ youtube or hulu stream. 10 minutes of HQ youtube will pass as much traffic as all the surfing you’ll do on Wikipedia for the next few months.
Suddenly the above graph makes much more sense. Even if online video made up 90% of web traffic it would still mean that more time online is spent just surfing the web. And this is why it’s shocking the editor of Wired Magazine wrote this article, it horrible mis-represents the data provided by Cisco about web traffic. Much more useful would be how much time people spend on different web sites. However that’s much harder to measure.