2nd Web and Consumer Trends

The February 2012 Trendwatching.com briefing predicts an emerging consumer trend, “Point-Know-Buy,” which is driven by mobile technologies, massive visual cues, & augmented reality.

Using web-enabled smart phones, users will be able to collect digital information that is otherwise not available in the plain, unconnected physical reality.  Then, users can potentially add to that virtual body of knowledge or make an on-the-spot purchase of that item.  I believe Consumer Trends is correct – there are signs of this emergence all around. See their report from the link above for examples of this idea in use.

It makes me wonder if the potential popularity of devices like Google’s “X glasses” (with web-connected Heads Up Display built into the lens) and the proliferation of smart phone (for now) apps will eventually force the deployment of a 2nd Web.  This is not a Web 2.0, but a 2nd Web, built parallel to or on top of the backbone of the 1st Web, which is to say, built on top of the Internet.  The thought is a little science-fictiony, but are we not moving very quickly beyond the utility of the simple hyperlinking that HTTP brought us? I’m talking about massive personal data storage and transfer needs, GPS tracking, motion accelerometers, “big data” analysis requirements, and power grid connectivity.   This is much bigger than what Tim Berners-Lee could have envisioned when he was coding out a way to quickly share references between research papers.  Surely, there is a strain on the system caused by its lack of ability to scale to current use?

There are calls for a “shadow web” that operates alongside the public web. I mention that only to say that folks are discussing the feasibility of the concept, albeit for other reasons than what I am proposing.

The web has transformed our lives – our banking, dating, food-ordering, & baby-face sharing.  While we know sort of what happens when a country turns it off, we don’t really know what happens when it grows beyond its bounds.

Thanks for streaming season 3 of Breaking Bad through Netflix to my web-enabled TV.  And thanks for letting me pay my City of Pittsburgh parking ticket online last month (not so happy about the technology fee though?).  Thanks for the Groupon to Sun Penang – I saved $11!  And thanks for letting me order dog food from Amazon and having it delivered to my house each month by UPS. That is so awesome cause really I just have to click one button for all that dog food goodness to happen.  Thanks for all that, and so much more.  I feel guilty even asking, but what’s next, Interwebs?

The web is no longer a nascent technology – it fuels a global economy.  But it will run out of legroom and it will be forced to change.  As we want more of a meshed experience between our reality and an augmented LAYAR, we will help nudge it into the next web.  I just wonder what that will be.