18 8 / 2010
Relying on the above chart as their starting point, Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff argue that the open world wide web is dying. Instead, they believe we are moving into the age of apps, walled off platforms, APIs and various closed systems, trading the open chaos of the web for a more orderly, efficient Internet experience.
In a vacuum, the above chart would appear to make a powerful case for their point, but I think Anderson and Wolff ignore a key fact. Internet usage in general has increased exponentially since 1990, in both individual and population terms: More people are using the Internet and are doing so for more hours of the day. In addition, with the rise of wireless technology more recently, the growth in Internet usage is likely lopsided towards mobile, a context which lends itself more easily to apps. All of which is to say, it seems more likely that, rather than dying, the web has simply become one of among a few important elements of the Internet. As Internet usage perpetuates all facets of our daily lives, those new areas into which it is expanding are not necessarily web-based, but to say that the web itself is dead is drastic and inaccurate.