Sunday, April 17, 2011

Technology ... a change is going to come

Roger McNamee did an interview with CNBC last week regarding the changes in technology.  There are several comments made by McNamee that I found interesting.  For full disclosure, I do work for General Electric (not in IT), which is now a minority owner of NBC (parent company of CNBC).  

"Apple is killing the web".  Sound familiar?  "Video killed the radio star...". In the end apps and websites will co-exist.  As each is developed for different user experiences.  Businesses will need to figure out their overall "user interaction model" across the different technologies and determine how best to leverage each.  If there is focus on one or the other without a good strategy or reason why, businesses will lose.

"Google as the leader of the HTML camp".  Google is the leader of the search camp, but it was Apple who pushed for innovation in HTML5 because the web was being split into the Flash and the "Flash-not" camps of website development.  Google has developed several web-based applications to drive usage of a "cloud" based user experience, but little innovation has come out of Google in regards to HTML5.  Google has made it's contribution to HTML5 with the introduction of the video format (webm) to compete against h.264.  However, that was after Apple began the push to HTML5.

Index Search and "signal to noise ratio" ... This would be the true culprit of killing the web.  The Bing commercials probably have the most accurate depiction of the randomness that you get when searching for something.  With Wikipedia I get a "curated" set of information.  With apps, the user get specific categories then applications that are more directed.  Google, Bing, and Yahoo is great for "blind or obscure" searches.  With the risk of clicking and dragging and having my bank account drained by some 10 year old in Jersey I prefer to steer clear of "big search" for the most part.

"They are about to upgrade the infrastructure on the world wide web".  IF you've been asleep for the past 4 years then yes, the web is going to be upgraded, but ever since Apple pointed it's reality distortion field at Adobe Flash (when the first iphone was released and then the ipad), that upgrade has been taking place.  Most major websites have a HTML5 version, most browsers now support HTML5.  The piece that is missing to make the major leap forward are good HTML5 content development tools for the individual up through the mid-sized company so authoring websites can be just as easy as it was with Flash.

The discussion ended of course with questions about going long or shorting certain stocks.  There's no intent of that with this diatribe.  The point here is that technology boils down to (1) user experience and (2) ubiquity and (3) relevance.  When a technology is hard to use, difficult to get to, or there is a substitute / can be skipped all together, it fails and people move on.