Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Web 2.0: The bubble that wasn't

"Web 2.0 was a bubble that never inflated — a shimmery illusion that popped well before we stopped talking about it. Precious few people got rich from the notions its proponents championed, such as user-generated content and social networks."

It's hard (for me anyway) to not spend a lot of time trying to rationalize what in the long run turns out to be irrational behavior in others.

Facebook, Myspace and others have to be given credit for providing a clustering point for users without actually providing much in the way of services. Twenty megs of photos are converted by Facebooks homegrown version of Flickr into a few hundred K of postage stamp images. Users can spam their friends inboxes with messages, but Facebook (Myspace, etc) provide no means to receive e-mail nor do they have to worry about where to store it.

YouTube on the other hand (and Flickr, Picasaweb, Google Docs, etc.) provide tons of value (in terms of bandwidth, disk space, complex programming) and in most cases no monetization mechanism.

I have to think that eventually value will prevail, if only after Flickr, Picasaweb, and other storage sites shut down or are severely limited and all the things that make money off of simply linking to such things must either provide their own facilities or become suddenly less useful.

Google's success has caused Microsoft to invest many millions in data centers that they haven't yet figured out how to use. Eventually the muscles (at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft to name the largest of the well known ones) that do the heavy lifting of the Internet will represent valuable assets, even if they have to change hands a bit to get actually paid for.

The irony of course is to look back on media of ten to fifteen years ago where "expensive" mainframes were being replaced by inexpensive commodity PCs. The realization of these predictions is almost unrecognizable in today's world.

No comments:

Post a Comment