Just when the world’s advertising and media companies think they’ve got a handle on using the internet to build and maintain relationships with millions of people, a new disruption might be on the way. Everyone might have to get into the software business.
An example: Soon Major League Baseball fans will be able to download an application to their phones that will keep them up to date with games as they happen. Using pictures as well as text. And video clips showing replays of the action moments after it happens. This is an application that will be available on the iPhone within the next few months.
Instead of going all over the web to buy music, you can visit one of the very few digital online music retailers – such as iTunes. The more these services act like software applications, the more successful they are. iTunes and similar software may go to the internet to find songs and videos, but the places it goes doesn’t matter to those searching for music.
These are the sort of services people will start to expect on their phones. If Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android (an operating system for telephones – coming soon) and Microsoft’s (they won’t be able to stay out of this) products take off, people won’t expect to jump from page to page any more. They’ll expect government, corporate, social and individual entities to provide services that represent the relationships the entities want to have with their audience.
Governments will provide a service to manage citizens’ relationship with their society. How much tax you pay, how many expenses you can claim, which state you spend the night, what benefits you deserve, what rights you have.
Corporations would have to express themselves by what they can usefully do for their audiences – if anything.
I imagine that some blogs will evolve into avatars. The things we write, the pictures we like, the way we turn a phrase might one day be converted into a digital representation of ourselves. We’ll have the option for our blogs to speak for us if we are too busy to get involved in a conversation.
Will the web of linked pages that most people identify as the internet still be around in five years time? If not, will applications replace it?