Dan Gillmor gives a look at the future of the Web, as if we’re not already dealing with enough change. Here’s what we have today:
The big change in the read-write sphere came about because of applications such as weblogs, the personal journals that put newer material at the top, and wikis, sites on which anyone can edit any page. Not only could people make their own sites, but they could update them easily and rapidly.
Blogs have been especially important in the world of the read-write web.
They are far more than the “what I ate for breakfast” diaries of cliche; they have become a key part of a growing, complex global conversation.
We are moving quickly beyond text and pictures in this version of the web, to audio and video.
The cost of the gear we need to make high-quality content is plummeting while the power and ease of use continue to grow.
Ok…that’s all good. We’re all up to speed on that, right? RIGHT? But now there is this…
The emerging web is one in which the machines talk as much to each other as humans talk to machines or other humans. As the net is the rough equivalent of a computer operating system, we’re learning how to program the web itself.
An operating system offers programmers something called an “applications programming interface,” or API. The APIs are essentially shortcuts for programmers who want to use underlying capabilities of the operating system, such as displaying text or printing, and they help products interoperate with each other.
The electric outlet in the wall is, to stretch the metaphor, an API. A manufacturer making a product that uses electricity can equip it with a plug that fits into the socket.
A variety of web APIs, offered by companies such as Google, Yahoo! Amazon and others, is letting programmers create new kinds of applications by wiring together various functions into what are called “web services”.
E-commerce has always been a web service, but when we can mix and match from various sites, by pulling specific information from their rich databases, we are moving into an entirely new sphere.
Brain. Numb. But working…