[NetBehaviour] The Next Big Thing.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Oct 25 13:58:12 CEST 2006

The Next Big Thing.

The Internet continues to evolve, integrating video and podcasts as well 
as the inexorable increases in broadband access and processor speed. 
Browser enhancements proceed and the Web is now the largest recipient of 
advertising dollars. Blogs have achieved a critical mass and online 
magazines are more central to the intellectual debate than printed 
materials as more people get their news online than from any other source.

These changes, however, are only marginal in nature. The Internet, at 
least as experienced by most users, feels as if it has at last 
plateaued. One cannot help but get the impression that changes from this 
point forward will resemble consecutive versions of the Windows OS -- 
more a honing than transformation.

This is an illusion.

Forces are coalescing that will produce a shift comparable at least to 
the spread of broadband. This change will have enormous financial, 
cultural and political repercussions, and the most interesting aspect of 
the coming transformation is that it will not be some new and unexpected 

Rather, the Web for many will become the cliched 3D virtual reality that 
has been so overused as a literary and cinematic device that most of us 
have forgotten how compelling that vision was when it first appeared. 
Before describing this evolutionary leap, however, we should spend a 
little time thinking about the key event that led to the last one: the 
Internet you are using now to read these words.


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