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The Web is 25 Years Old

 

Tim Berners-Lee’s “Information Management: A Proposal” was written in March 1989 and it launched what we now think of as the World Wide Web , a hyperlinked document system providing a much more user friendly experience than previous internet technologies.

 

Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web - Opportun...

Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web – Opportunity, Challenge, Responsibility (Photo credit: Anna L. Schiller)

The web is now incorporated pretty tightly into our daily lives. We use it for entertainment in all it’s forms such as gaming, watching video, reading, and listening. We use it for shopping, allowing us unparalleled access to massive catalogs of goods and a way to find the best prices possible. We use it to simplify our lives, to keep in contact with people, and as a source of all knowledge. It’s still evolving, and the scale of the content out there is pretty mind boggling – even if sometimes its incorrect, or even shared without our knowledge. Never have we been so eager to reveal so much about ourselves!

 

Congratulations Sir Tim, the original ethos of a free web still stands even if it has had to shrug off a few blows. Where would we be without our Wikipedia, Ebay, Facebook and Google? The future is going to be even more exciting with semantic web technologies making use of the torrent of data – what will it be like when it hits 50…?

 

 

 

 

Google Zeitgeist 2008 Published

Google’s annual year-end Zeitgeist has been published and it provides an interesting snapshot of what people have searched for over the past year. In a wider context, it’s also an indication of general matters of interest throughout the world. You can even get country-specific lists.

Most of the searches, to be honest, are pretty self explanatory. Sites such as Facebook rank top as a search, because people tend to just type “facebook” into their search bar or address bar, then click the link that appears in the listings rather than type “www.facebook.com” directly. But at least this way Google can track it 🙂

The interesting lists though are the specific ones. Martinis, Mojitos and Margaritas are the top cocktails, for example. And American Idol, Lost, and SNL are the top shows. Man Utd, Chelsea, and Chivi (?) were the top “soccer” teams, and in the UK Facebook, Iplayer and BBC were the top.

Nothing surprising then, really, but it does at least show the most popular are now very well entrenched.

Android Phone Revealed

So, the first Google Android based phone has been shown. Here in the UK it will be offered by T-Mobile and is a HTC/Google model.

Looking at this video I must say I’m a little underwhelmed. It doesn’t seem to do anything special at all, and it doesn’t have the wow-factor of the iPhone. The only interesting part seems to the developer network that Google is fostering. I’m not sure we need another phone OS, I’m happy with Windows Mobile and Symbian is fine, too.

Although I must say T-Mobile is a good choice here. I used to use a HTC TyTnII (T-Mobile Vario 2 branded) with it’s touchscreen, windows mobile, and slide-out keyboard. On T-Mobile all web access was free, and the phone did everything I wanted to: Telephony, Texting, Camera, Internet (3G and WiFi). And the best part was a wealth of software – Games, Audio, Graphics, Emulation… which was cool 🙂

Now I have a HTC Touch Dual, and I hate it 🙁 It’s a slimmer, better, model than the TyTn, but I miss the keyboard and WiFI (even though it has HDPSA), and the Orange network it is on sucks, big time.  They charge a fortune for web access though it’s free in the rather useless 7pm – 7am period.

No more 18 month contracts for me – even though I did get a laptop thrown in. Todays PDA based phone has more power than my first computers but I don’t want to be tied to a monthly charge.

Google 10 Year Anniversary

Google is 10!

Google, a project first started in 1995, was incorporated on Sep 7th 1998. The company is a success story par excellence, generating massive profits and making it’s founders billionaires. Not bad for a company that has ridden the internet boom with aplomb. After all, “all” it does is provide a directory to the web and act as an advertising agency.

Google is the currently the #1 choice for searching the web. In fact, Google itself is anow a very: you don’t just search the web anymore, you “google” it!

Here’s some interesting links about Google and it’s history:

BBC News Videos and Report

Guardian Google Timeline

Google Facts

Official Google Blog

Google Youtube Channel

Google Explains Chrome

Google is launching it’s own browser – called Chrome (beta is now available), and they’ve also created a web comic to explain the thinking behind it. My first thoughts are at the end of this post, but here’s what Google itself says are the ideas behind the project:

Chrome Web Comic

It makes sense for Google to make it’s own browser, they are after all primarily a web company, and even though they’ve stated the Firefox partnership will continue there will obviously be a clash somewhere down the line. Unless, of course, both projects somehow merge. After all – both are open source.

With Firefox at around 20% market share, and Explorer anywhere from 75%-80% there’s a lot of work for Chrome to catch up.

But… and it’s a big but… Google does happen to own some of the worlds most popular websites and the web’s biggest advertising channel!

What to expect in Chrome? We’ll see later. So far it seems they aim to reduce memory wastage, introduce multi-threading (so the browser won’t hang if one element stalls), and overall make the browser stronger, faster, and more secure.

This is also  designed  with the web’s more modern features in mind and perhaps see a realisation of the web-as-application-platform or even the web-as-desktop. Google’s own Maps, YouTube, Apps and Mail are obvious candidates for integration. In fact, web applications can be dragged to the desktop and run from there!

Google’s Chrome Page (and download)

BBC News Report on Chrome (includes vid)

Wired Magazine on Chrome vs Microsoft IE

PC World: 7 Reasons For and 7 Against Chrome 

First Thoughts

Ok, I’m now using Chrome. In fact, I’m editing this post from within it. 

It’s certainly seems fast. And the interface is very clean. Helpfuly, everything was imported from Firefox on installation so all bookmarks etc are there, and even usernames/passwords are imported. Shortcuts remain similar, so Ctrl+T opens a new tab, etc. In short, you can feel right at home.

The address bar doubles as a search bar, with suggestions as you type. But it also does much more, including showing sites you’ve visited before, and even generating special searches on the fly. For example, you visit IMDB and search for something. Now, whenever you want to run an IMDB search, just type IMDB in the address bar and press tab. You can enter a new search term for that particular site. Because of the autocomplete entries showing other sites you’ve used you can even do away with bookmarking temporary pages. Just re-search for it and your previous sites show up.

A new empty tab defaults to showing screenshots of your most-visited pages and recent bookmarks, and those tabs themselves can be dragged to make new windows. You can even create a desktop application from a web application, so for example go to Google Mail and select “Create Application Shortcut” from the page menu.

Downloads appear in a footer bar, with a simple progress bar and can be launched from there. You don’t need complicated download managers to handle them.

There are many more neat features, to see some  please click here (includes videos).

I haven’t checked for compatibility but on this cursory examination it seems at least up there with Firefox. I’ve tried Gmail and Youtube, and Microsoft Live. They seem fine. I even tried NewGrounds, a flash portal, and that seems to run everything well so even Flash is included by default.

Now – if I could only get all those Firefox Plugins I love. That will come with time, but for now I’m impressed.

And did I say it’s fast?

Rating: 8.5/10 (only because of the plugins, but this is a beta. Still faster and cleaner than most.)

Verdict: Google is on to another winner and continues it’s takeover of the Web. But do you really want everything handled by one company? Do we need another Microsoft?