Since long has the web been left to itself, few rules and open access to information to everyone. Come Facebook and Twitter, there arrived a new set of rules, they have built huge information empires that only they have access to. They weren’t willing to open up this information for discovery to third parties at least for free. Consider this- Social traffic is becoming very dominant when compared to the web as a whole. Which also means the amount of information that Google is having to stay away from is mind numbing. This caught the likes of Google totally off guard, the situation is getting bad, Google would no longer be having access to highly relevant and precise social information. Google stands at a risk of becoming irrelevant as they no longer have the keys to information that keeps internet busy. This is precisely why Google was forced to build their own social garden, so as to own the social information for its search engine, while at the same time not having to be at the mercy of these new age networks. Another motivation for Google to enter social is the highly targeted advertising, which is not the subject of my discussion now.
But the worry some trend is not Google getting into social, but its the idea of web. If each of these web companies from Facebook, Twitter, Google start building their own walled gardens All the information and wealth of knowledge the millions of us create, stays with in the closed ecosystem. Each of the these networks might turn out to be huge intranets or sorts within the internet, thus controlling the access to this information. My fear is that the idea of open web is slowly, but certainly being challenged.
One might argue that the market place and competition will decide the fate of these companies in cases of abuse of their power. I would say that this is a ingenious way of looking at the issue, if each of these companies have greater incentive to keep the system closed than to keep open. How would competition address this issue? Because the whole market sees more money in closed web.
I understand this article doesn’t make as much sense with out trying to understand what a closed web will mean for all of us. I will try and write my thoughts on Open Web in my next blog.