I’ll make one prediction, and I hope I’m right. Google will not allow public sign up for their gmail service – they only want to let friends of friends in. If you don’t get a gmail invite, you’re not going to get a gmail account. There’s a number of really excellent reasons to do it this way, too. First of all, now they instantly know who is connected to who. Why are those social network programs like Friendster and Orkut so popular? The value the link between people as the highest metric for classifying individuals. By rolling out the gmail service with invites only, they build the database backend which allow them to introduce the next generation of social software – something that combines a vast storage of personal net space with a messaging, file sharing and social networking backbone. Eventually they’ll eliminate spam: Only emails from other gmail accounts are trusted, everything else (except perhaps trusted partners) is disregarded as junk. So the next evolution of the Internet begins, but here’s the problem – the only way this can properly work is if we hand over a lot of our privacy into the hands of one company. How trustworthy is Google?
As you may or may not be aware, Google has recently announced it’s entrance into the free email market, most likely a direct response to the increasing competition from Internet portal giant Yahoo and Software behemoth Microsoft. While Yahoo offers 10 megs with it’s free account and Microsoft’s Hotmail offers a measely 2 megs, Google has promised one Gig (1024 megs) of space to retain emails online. Along with what will probably be an inovative and intuitive user interface, Google will serve up advertisements based on keywords in your messages. This move, of course, has privacy advocates in an uproar. Accusations of Big Brother and 1984 have been bandied about the internet faster than links to Janet Jackson’s nipplegate.
What a load of bullshit.
This idea is only going to get better and better with time: Radio Vox Populi. Really, the only way to explain it is to just check it out. It’s a little rough around the edges but like I said, it’ll just get better.
Good news for any of my fellow Canadians that want seamless Wi-Fi access because it looks like the major wireless carriers have agreed on common standards for roaming and interoperability. What this means is that anybody signing up for any of those carriers will be able to use any hotspot that’s available. Ubiquitous wireless internet! Of course this lends weight back to the purchae of a Laptop as discussed in my previous entry, because the thought of accessing broadband internet anywhere I go is positively titilating. I am, after all, an unadulterated self confirmed Net Junky.
Still, it’s good to see that the national carriers were able to come to an equitable agreement so quickly. Wi-Fi and other high speed wireless services will be The Next Big Thing because just like the original phone, it’s much better when there’s no wires attached. We can only hope that the rollout of this service will be trouble free and not prohibitively expensive. Make no mistake, Canadians are notoriously cheap.
The future economy lies in information. Email, webpages, Instant Messenger conversations are all very personal to the consumer and therefore eventually of great value. If, through unforseen circumstances like a fire or harddrive failure, this information is lost it will be a tragic event for the individual, akin to losing all of their photo albums in a flood. As more and more people connect to the internet this problem will occur for more and more people. In order to prevent this tragedy we should offer secure, safe and dependable information storage.
What has always fascinated me about the internet is it’s constant evolution. From all the way back to the email and newsgroup days to the invention of the world wide web and HTML, there has always been innovation and progress in the software and the underlying mechanisms that provide the content which makes the internet such an incredible playground for so many people. I often regret not investigating it more while I was in high school instead of waiting until my first year of university in 1995 before I really jumped into the fray. I was there before mp3s and napster though, and signed up with hotmail before it was bought by Microsoft. ICQ was the premier (read: only) instant messenging service and you could still download software illegally from webpages. Ah the good old days.
Things have changed, and yet the underlying themes of evolution is still what makes the internet such a chaotic and upredictable entity. As people add new ideas and new software the complexity always increases and more people buy in. I have an idea (well really a modification of an idea) that I think would put the power back in the hands of the individual, which is I believe a fundamental strength of this CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet.