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The next evolution of the Internet: The Shared Web

Jevon MacDonald, president and co-founder, GoInstant | March 7, 2012
The past decade has seen a massive evolution of the Internet.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

The past decade has seen a massive evolution of the Internet. The early years focused on the Information Web, allowing users to access enormous volumes of data. The Commerce Web followed, giving consumers the ability to transact online. YouTube and Twitter ushered in the Broadcast Web, turning individuals into self-publishers. And today we have the Shared Web, the next iteration that promises to usher in just as much innovation and change.

The Shared Web leverages all of the components of the previous layers but also for the first time provides the ability to deliver real-time, fully shared co-browsing Web experiences.

IN PICTURES: The evolution of the Internet

A number of technology advancements in the core of the Internet are making real-time, intuitive and seamless Web sharing possible. These advancements include:

Web sockets -- enabling native two-way communication between the client and server over a single TCP connection and supporting orders of magnitude more simultaneous and longer-lasting connections.

• In-memory data stores -- allowing applications to access and store their data more quickly, eliminating the overhead of reading and writing to disk.

• Evented Web servers -- allowing calling and responding to client requests without blocking I/O, thus eliminating the waiting game of earlier evolutions and creating a more fully connected experience.

These capabilities represent the enablers for Web sharing and are antiquating today's restrictive and complicated Web collaboration choices.

Native, intuitive, reliable and on-demand

The Web population has surged to more than 2 billion users, and emerging markets, such as mobile and the cloud, are moving more and more transactions to the Internet. Yet, despite this incredible growth, existing Web collaboration solutions -- such as screen sharing -- have remained stagnant and outdated, with cumbersome system requirements that make them difficult and unreliable to implement and use. Enter the Shared Web.

OUTLOOK: 10 foolproof predictions for the Internet in 2020

Instead of an experience that resides on someone else's computer and screen, the Shared Web allows participants to fully share the session in their own browser on their own device. The result is an entirely native experience that is highly intuitive for the user, shifting the focus from technical distractions and concerns to the potential learning or collaboration opportunity at hand.

Instead of requiring complex downloads or plugins, the Shared Web gives users a fast, simple and reliable way to initiate a Web collaboration session -- without any confusing platform requirements.

Instead of one-way interaction, participants are fully engaged in a truly interactive Web session.


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