The cover of the September issue of Wired Magazine had a very interesting message. With an orange background, in big black letters – Wired controversial proclaimed that The Web Is Dead. The article discussed how we no longer need the Web in our daily lives. After all, we can get our email on Smartphones, and utilise apps to navigate Facebook, Twitter, and major media outlets. It also mentioned how technologies such as RSS feeds make the user less inclined to use the internet to search for information when they can easily get it delivered to them. The article even highlighted technologies such as Skype and Netflix. These technologies, Wired argued, are distributed via the Internet but the user never goes onto the Web to use them.
However, The Web Is Not Dead, Not By A Long Shot, here’s why:
1) According to online security firm Arbor networks, Google is growing and growing a lot. Google has gained more than 1% of all internet traffic since January. This growth confirms that people are still using the Web to search for Websites that can help them. If there was an “app” engine that was growing this fast – it would show people are looking for “apps” – buts is a Web search engine that has grown to command 6.4% of all internet traffic because people are still looking for Websites.
2) The global Web is continuing to grow as a whole. Economies and countries across the world, whom were behind in regards to internet usage, continue to adopt it more and more each day. Global internet usage has been said to grow by 40% – 45% each year. And these new internet users are not going to be as savvy as long time internet users. So, the Web will be where they go first as it has become the standard for getting information and tools from the internet.
3) The Apps which have sprouted up, could never cover the long tail as the traditional Web does. Granted, for major things such as email, phone calling, or streaming movies; there will be apps available to let users perform these tasks without ever hitting the Web. But there is an enormous amount of internet users looking to perform very unique tasks, or find out very unique information. It has taken 15 years for the massive variety of Websites, tools, and content to show up on the Web so that users could get the specific information or services they seek. Apps are certainly not going to be able to get close to this level of granularity and coverage for some time.
For years, Webmasters have researched niche topics that users have been looking for and they have built out Websites to address that need. The users take to the Web to get this information and services, and the transformation of users performing long tail tasks on apps isn’t coming anytime soon.
4) There are several barriers to entry in the world of apps. First from a user standpoint, there is a learning curve and technical curve needed to be able to utilise apps. For developers, that learning curve is even greater. For years, new technologies were developed to make it easy for anyone to get a domain name and quickly launch a Website. So, not only was it easy for users to get to a Website, it was easy for Website owners to get something online and develop it further. With apps, they are more complex to launch. There are also barriers with operating systems. When a Website owner launches a site, it works on Firefox, Chrome, and IE right away. For app developers, launching an Iphone app and a Blackbery app are often two separate initiatives and they are only available to the specific users which have the specific device.
5) The Web has so much momentum. People don’t change habits overnight. And while there are some cool use cases and ideas for how to benefit from the internet without using the Web; the Web has already been ingrained into so much of our minds. I see the Web as a freight train – Website owners have continued to see growth in traffic year over year – and this will continue.
After all – if the Web is really dead – traffic on the Web would be in decline – and to the contrary – it continues to rise.
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