Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Internet

Vint Cerf's baby is baby is growing and how! Google today muscles through 20 petabytes of data every single day. The 10 billion user photos shared on Facebook take up in excess of 1 petabyte of storage space. German upload giant Rapidshare, declared way back in in April 2008 that it had 240 Gbps of allowable bandwidth and 5.4 petabytes of usable disk space. Memory no doubt is getting cheaper. The cost per gigabyte of data has dropped over the last decade from $31 in April '99 to a measly $0.17 today for the new Maxtor 1.5 TB disk. Fact is, as storage becomes cheaper and internet penetration and bandwidth available the world over soars, the internet growth curve will only get steeper. Even the gurus of internet today can't tell us what the 'size of the internet'(keeping aside the ambiguity of the term) maybe.

ethernet port2009 marks the 40 birthday of the internet. Applause! Its been 40 remarkable years since its conception as Defence and Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA's ARPANET. What is more interesting is how the web has matured from mere telnet and gophers to e-mails and to the current day cloud of social networking sites, wikis, portals, blogs and a gazillion other types of websites I'm unfamiliar with. So much so that search engines, thought of by everyone during the founding days of Google as a ridiculous and whacky concept, have today become an absolute necessity to find your needle in this ever growing haystack. Those of us who have been up there since the 90s will know how much things have transformed, right down to the narrowest of alleys of the world wide web. What has changed among other things is the language used. The chat lingo ushered in by the onslaught of IMs and IRC aside, the language of the common man's website is becoming more liberal. Enter Web 2.0.

If you're the kind of person who thinks people ought to be more specific when they're using the term mail to refer to snail mail or if you'd come running to your keyboard to google for "fonegrs struxk siperglye" rather than simply calling up your doc or you just think all mail ids are Gmail ids until mentioned otherwise, then in all likelihood you already have an inkling of what I'm talking about. Gone are the days when websites sounded as if they had been designed to be read by bots. In the early days of the net, it was funky to sound technical and sophisticated. Maybe even adding a hint of credibility during the early days of Web 1.0 and dot-com bubble later on. Ironical as it may sound, the world wide web come a full circle and we're back to where we started from.

A little touch of warmth always help, especially on a login page. That's someplace to start. login

Then there are the sign up forms that's we've all filled by the dozens. If you were to sign up on Digg, you'd be getting (much) more than what you'd ask for. After all why make signing up so cumbersome and mundane?

How can one fail to mention the nagging captcha. I've always hated captchas... All but this one.

Digg just doesn't sieze to amuse me!

Websites today don't treat you like a just-another-brick-in-the-wall-client who likes to tip toe into their office, be done with the business and just walk out the front door. Website are invariably getting more user-centric.

I can't think of a better example than Google. Their 'Official Google Blog' couldn't have been more unofficial. The Gmail team appears to enjoy discussing what's cooking in their cauldron as much as they enjoy delivering it. They tell you what the employees were doing during the holidays and share pics with you on their blog. Google shares its life and culture with you, as if you're one of them. They love to hear from you all the time on the Groups - be it your woes or your likes. Could you imagine that a decade ago? I wouldn't be surprised if Google itself was responsible for the institution of this culture. I'm all too glad that Google happened. I believe that the worst of disasters was averted the day Microsoft's attempt to merge with Google in the October of 2003 failed. If that deal had materialized, we'd probably be purchasing annual subscriptions to get organic search results and still be using a search engine that hanged every few minutes - very much unlike the Microsoft Live! that you see today.

To call it a day, my heart sings for Web 2.0! Life without it would be like watching a movie in black and white -everything is out there, but there's still something missing. Something significant that's leaving a lot of the fun out. Well you get the picture. Here is the disclaimer from's blog to wind it all up.

"Everything here is copyrighted by and the author of the respective article. Beware, our lawyers are stiff-lipped limeys without any sense of humour. And we have an office watch-moose!"


evilsense said...

when internet turns 40...

my modem got burst.

vk said...

40yrs is a friggin long time for a modem ;)