That Internet Revolution? It’s Not Here…Yet

This was originally posted on my old, defunct Tumblr

The Internet will change everything. Not did, will. That’s what is going to make the next few years so interesting, and so pivotal.

Mentioned this to a friend today who gets it. And, well, he got it.

You can see that with the iPhone maps application. 10 years ago, before I went somewhere, I looked at a map. Five years ago, I went to Mapquest or Google Maps. Now I just walk out the door, because I have the best map I’ve ever had in my pocket.

Exactly. He lives his life differently because of the Internet (what makes the iPhone and other similar smartphones special is the ease with which they connect). Instead of planning, he just goes, and that’s a big difference.

That’s why, despite widespread assumptions to the contrary, the war to capitalize on the Internet revolution is only getting started. And as this post on the VentureBeat blog suggests, Microsoft is still very much in the game:

Many new Bing improvements, such as maps with interactive driving directions, are mere catch-up to what Google has done for years. But others, driven by heavy market research aimed at finding ways Google is missing the mark, show how very much the kind of people who use the Internet has changed since a few years ago.

In short, the people who use search engines today are nothing like the people who build them. Online, the normals have finally displaced the geeks.

Microsoft lost a lot of ground among the geeks over the last ten years, but not nearly so much among the normals. And that’s where the true prize lies (which is why Apple so assiduously ignore the geeks – XMac anyone? – while focusing like a laser on normals). Bing is more than just another search engine – it, and more importantly, it’s development process, is a harbinger of where the true action will be over the next ten years.

I think the blog post got one point not so much wrong but not quite right: the normals may have overtaken the geeks in terms of number of users on the Internet, but for them, the Internet is just a welcome addition to their lives. For geeks like my friend and I, the Internet is an essential component of our lives. The revolution will be the movement from addition to to essential component among the population as a whole.