Looking at the Web’s Big Future

Stephen Yagielowicz
For forward-looking developers, the evolving nature of cyberspace provides a range of challenges and opportunities, with the path to near-term profits and beyond already outlined for those who are able to take notice of the bigger picture.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels discussed “The Future Web Building Blocks” at the Next Web Conference, recently held in Amsterdam.

“When we talk about building blocks for Internet applications current we still talk about pretty low level stuff, but slowly there is an ecosystem developing that provides higher-level services that are going to be the building blocks for a deluge of revolutionary new applications,” the session’s promoters said. “Werner will show how new services that are coming into existence today in areas such [as] telco, geo, media, graphing, [and] big data, are going to drive development of applications that could not be built before.”

At his keynote address, Vogels shared an enthusiastic vision of the future with attendees, in which the web is a wholly rich media experience, driven by ubiquitous access through a wide variety of devices that are aware of their location and deliver contextually relevant content. A real-time presence-driven web based on social graphing and fueled by user-generated content integrated with social networks, along with a virtual goods economy bolstered by very highly targeted advertising and premium services.

According to Vogels, the building blocks of this advanced cyberspace experience are all available today, within the cloud — deployed as pay-as-you-go services that will allow correctly executed websites to benefit from these services while making money. He cited cloudbased infrastructure services such as, Echo and OpenX among others, as providing these building blocks.

Vogels says that Amazon served more than 100 billion objects in the first quarter of 2010 and offered a bit of perspective on the financial scene, stating that “If you go to a VC and say you aren’t using the scale of these services they will think your head is not on right.” He concluded that future apps need to “have a lot of stuff,” inclusive of these basic building blocks outlined above.

A side note on Vogels’ discussion was the crowdsourcing of its topic, with attendees surveyed prior to the event on which of a short selection of topics he should present — and in the online realm, crowdsourcing as a means of content customization is another hot topic that he sees as being vital to reaching today’s audiences.