World Wide Web celebrates birthday along with me

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On March 12, the visual layer of the Internet was revealed, fundamentally changing the way we communicate, research, consume and share media, work and well, do everything else really. Eventually, this would become the World Wide Web aka Internet.

It’s a constantly changing medium, a system that reinvents itself every second as the energy of a million minds is focused, laser-like, on one meme after the other? What will you tell the you of 2039? that how you don’t go to stores anymore but expect everything – from diapers to food – to be brought to you with the click/tap of a button? Do you tell that you about the demise of the book, of the death of the postal service, of the implosion of the record industry, the shuttering of the great newspapers?

What could be more satisfying, than to realize that I share my birth date/month with World Wide Web.

A huge proponent of Web and one of biggest evangelist among my colleagues, friends and family since early days of my career. I’ve a strong gut feeling after learning this, that I was born for web and to be eventually on web.

More than any time in history, more people in more places have the ability to make their voices heard.

Just as we celebrate freedom, we need to celebrate the tools that support freedom of speech. And Internet is possibly one of the greatest tools, we’ve ever had.

For all the freedom and benefits we have received from Internet. How has this happened? By design, the underlying Internet and the WWW are non-hierarchical, decentralized and radically open. The web can be made to work with any type of information, on any device, with any software, in any language. You can link to any piece of information. You don’t need to ask for permission. What you create is limited only by your imagination.

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Apple is out to hurt web more than Google

Your site may soon be impacted in a war between Silicon Valley superpowers. By including ad blocking in iOS9, Apple isn’t trying to take down your site or mine. Apple is trying to hurt Google by providing a more Apple-like web experience than ad networks have previously allowed.

This is a great example of acting in your own self-interest, yet smelling like a rose.

Apple has always been at war in terms of open & proprietary platforms. iPhone users, notice how you can’t buy books in Kindle app in iOS? Apple supports Amazon to the extent of letting Amazon distribute Kindle software on the iOS platform. But if you want to buy a Kindle book for your phone, you have to go to a desktop browser (or open Safari on your phone and navigate to Amazon.com). This pushes you to get your digital books in iBooks instead. Same with Amazon’s video app, buy videos from iTunes instead.

If you’ve understood this by now, Amazon doesn’t want to give Apple a cut of its media sales, so Apple won’t let Amazon sell products in its apps. In Apple’s reasoning, all other vendors pay Apple a cut; Amazon shouldn’t get a pass. And Amazon is serious about not sharing revenue, because Amazon is a ruthless competitor that has taken over nearly all retail sales in the U.S., by giving consumers the lowest possible price — a price that leaves them no margin to share.

Because Amazon is serious about not sharing sales revenue, and Apple is serious about blocking sales by any vendor that refuses to share revenue, Apple denies Amazon the right to sell products via its iOS apps. Who suffers? We, the consumers, as we put down our phone and toddle over to a desktop. This is anti-consumer, and makes both Amazon and Apple look bad. Still, millions of Apple followers don’t think about it and keep supporting these proprietary platforms/ companies instead of Google, which doesn’t restrict you like these do.

Ad blocking is little different

Consumers want helpful and interesting content to use web, not more ads. In this environment websites are riddled with ads, Apple wants to look heroic by providing all the content without the ads, and by blocking advertising on websites. Unfortunately, the reality is ads pay for all that content and are what make the Web go round. In particular web ads, the biggest provider of ads on the web is Google. Google makes the most of its money on search, and Google search loses its value, if the web isn’t searchable, so Google has a vested interest in making the web profitable for media companies, so they can search all that content.

Now that attention is shifting fast from desktop to mobile browsers. In particular, to Apple’s Mobile Safari, which dominates usage statistics. The dominance of the iPhone and Mobile Safari give Apple power over the web, a power which means Google’s revenue platform is at stake and under the control of Apple. With iOS 9 and content blockers, what you’re seeing is Apple’s attempt to cut Google’s revenue. iOS 9 includes a refined search that auto-suggests content and that can search inside apps, pulling content away from Google and users away from the web, it allows users to block ads, and it offers publishers assurance in the form of Apple News, inside of which Apple will surely display ads, and also sell them on publishers’ behalf for a 30% cut.

Nilay Patel on Verge put it rightly:

The collateral damage of that war — of Apple going after Google’s revenue platform — is going to include the web, and in particular any small publisher on the web that can’t invest in proprietary platform distribution, native advertising, and the type of media wining-and-dining it takes to secure favorable distribution deals on proprietary platforms. It is going to be a huge blow to independent media. Taking money and attention away from the web means that the pace of web innovation will slow to a crawl. Innovation tends to follow the money, after all!

Now that Apple has forced it on us(like they always do). How will it affect consumers, sites or our web experience is up for debate.

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On the 25th birthday of the web, I urge you to join in—to help imagine and build the future of the web, and become a part of those who keep it free and open web for everyone. Learn more at webat25.org and speak up for the sort of web we really want with #web25.


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