What is the next big social network? Who is going to create the “Facebook killer”? The future of technology might not be a social network bigger or better than Facebook, but one that brilliantly complements the big F. And Twitter. And Google+. And blogs. And your email inbox. The future may not be a new social network, but rather an integration of the best we have today, a concept known as the Hyperweb.
The need for complete integration is being championed by venture capitalists Roger McNamee and Mike Maples. Who are they and why do their opinions matter? Well, Roger McNamee is just the guy that told Zuckerberg not to sell Facebook and Maples is that nut that invested in Twitter and Digg. It is safe to say these two know what they’re talking about in regards to internet trends.
Where is it happening already?
Since Roger McNamee introduced his idea about the future of the internet this summer, there have been many tangible examples of his prediction popping up all over the digital landscape.
Share Links on Websites. Social share links have long been a mainstay of many blogs and websites, but they are now becoming almost the standard. The ability to transfer information you find on a website to your own personal channels is pretty much the definition of integration. So while using one button to take a cat meme from a blog to your Facebook page may not seem like a huge concept, but its far reaching.
iOS. Apple’s mobile platform on the iPhone and iPad is very keenly aware of this coming internet revolution. The launch of iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S have solidified this fact. From the cross app relationships programmed into the phone (take a picture: tweet it, text it, email it) to the sultry voice recognition goddess, Siri; the integration is already at play in the Apple universe.
Google+ Search Integration. Much to the chagrin of Twitter, Google has recently made changes to its algorithm to include relevant posts in the Google+ community first in search results. Shortsightedly, this may seem like a vain attempt by Google to increase the presence of its own social network. Undoubtedly, increasing Google+’s presence is the immediate goal, but it is also just the first piece of a much larger ‘Googlenet’ puzzle.
What will this integration become?
The internet already dictates the way we consume information and influences how we live our lives. Further integration will make our use of different internet channels feel almost involuntary, like breathing or blinking. Where now you have the ability to ask Siri, “what does the weather look like outside?”, you will eventually be able to ask her much deeper and far-reaching questions. Mike Maple envisions a future where you will be able to say “if something about my day is about to get screwed up, will you please tell me?” and Siri will generate a response based on your emails, calendars, notes, social networking accounts and all other possible channels. There is a huge market for services and products that will help to fluidly integrate the many fragmented pieces of our online identity.
You might even be able to imagine a not too distant future where all of our preferences and online identities are integrated into one. Imagine a service where you could simply ask “How do I feel about SOPA?” and it could simply let you know that you hate it, without you having to spend the time forming your own opinions.
Wait, isn’t that terrifying?
Yes, this extrapolation of the future evolution of the internet is a bit terrifying and 1984-esque. But is it really Big Brother controlling these answers though? In our hopeful version of the future, Hyperweb information will be based on YOUR own individual activities and opinions. This scenario is still very much a thing of the future. According to venture capitalists Mike Maple and Roger McNamee, there’s a whole lot of money to be made creating the technologies and programs to support this vision. It would be wise to jump on this wave of technology early, before Skynet starts building Terminators and wipes us all off the map.