May 17 has been proclaimed International Internet Day and to mark the occasion, Google has outlined the seven trends that will shape the future of the Web, and its place in that evolution.
According to Google, mobile Internet, a ubiquitous network, faster speeds, cloud computing, online advertising, real time services, and the social Web will dictate how the virtual world will behave in coming years.
1. Mobile Internet: the PC is no longer king
Experts such as Vint Cerf, the father of the Internet and vice president of Google, say that while the personal computer will not die and will remain a very important for users and for the development of Internet, it will cease to be the ultimate means of connection.
“Historically, the Internet has been connectivity between computers and people. (…) The Internet continues to develop: new devices will find their way on the Web and new ways of accessing it will emerge and evolve,” Cerf wrote in “The Next Internet” on his employer Google’s corporate blog.
Mobile devices are becoming the perfect partner for those who need to be permanently connected to the Internet through their mail, social networks and corporate networks. In addition, the latest equipment are achieving a high degree of ‘intelligence’ through which, together with the Internet connection, incorporate several sensors that can detect and send real-time data such as geographic location.
Another great advantage that mobile Internet will have is its speed: 3G connections will be replaced by fourth generation versions, with technologies such as LTE, which will offer faster speeds than the current fixed connections.
A study by the Pew Internet Project predicts: “Mobile Internet will be dominant. By 2020, most cellular networks will provide 1 gigabit per second at least, from anywhere, anytime.”
According to Google’s Latin American blog, the company has made a number of contributions to the growth of mobile Internet, through its Android operating system, the Nexus One smartphone, Google Mobile, Google Goggles, which uses photos and geographical locations to conduct searches, Latitude and Google Maps Navigation for Mobile.
2. Ubiquitous network
In the future, people will continue to connect to the Internet from home, businesses, offices, Internet cafes, public places and some mobile phones with 3G or 4G service. However, in a few years, entire cities and populations will have access to airborne Internet, through Wi-Fi and WiMax networks, and citizens will be able to connect from anywhere for free, or at increasingly reasonable costs.
A new generation of devices, from appliances to cars, will join computers and mobile devices to take advantage of the ubiquity of the Internet to be permanently online.
“The classic example of the fridge that connects to the corner store when there is no milk or meat, or a more futuristic car that mails an alert when it is low on gas or has a worn part may be true in a few years,” Google predicted.
In this aspect, Google is doing its share by offering Google WiFi, free wireless Internet throughout Mountain View, California, where it is headquartered.
3. Maximum speed
At present, in territories such as Hong Kong, France and Japan, the average speed for broadband users is higher than 10 Mbps. Other countries, like the United States, are gradually reaching these speeds, while in Latin America, only the most privileged have connections speeds higher than 4 Mbps.
However, Internet speed does not only stem from connections speeds of, but also from the optimization of web sites, applications, multimedia technologies and other seemingly imperceptible aspects that accelerate and improve the online experience.
Google studies show that people want faster and more stable sites and applications. To move speed forward, Google is reportedly researching and developing new technologies and is “constantly improving existing ones, to make the Web faster so that it is not just enjoyed by those with powerful computers and high speed connections.”
It has launched services such as Google Public DNS, webmaster tools such as Page Speed, to help improve website performance, the Google Chrome browser and the Chrome OS operating system.
4. Cloud computing will be more popular
‘Cloud computing’ took off in 2008 and grew significantly last year, with the emergence of numerous applications in the cloud or Web 2.0, that reside on the net, are accessible through computers and mobile devices, and created to collaborate and share content. In the future it is expected that more applications and services that currently operate from devices migrate to the cloud, taking advantage in safety, accessibility and collaboration.
At present, Google is leading the way on the cloud with applications such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Apps, used by more than two million organizations worldwide.
5. Exponential growth of online advertising
Internet advertising is evolving at a rapid pace and is spreading like wildfire in more developed countries. In England, a few months ago online ad spending reached 25 percent of the total, and since then the Internet surpassed television as the preferred medium for advertisers. In Spain, the United States and other countries the trend points towards the same direction and the Internet is already beating certain traditional media as the preferred medium.
According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the global average for online advertising investment will be 21 percent this year.
“Is it a fad? No: it is an increasingly strong trend supported by the benefits of online advertising over traditional, such as the ability to target ads, modify ad campaigns easily and in real time, flexibly manage costs, advertise without geographical boundaries and, above all, help advertisers to more easily find potential customers, increase sales and reduce marketing costs, advertising and marketing,” the Google analysis stated.
Google is the current leader in contextual advertising, through its AdWords platform. It is reportedly the fastest growing advertising format, duet to its high effectiveness and increased return on investment, and that it is not intrusive. The company also runs Ad Planner, a free tool for planning online ad campaigns and Google AdSense, the tool that allows publishers and bloggers to monetize their web sites and spaces with content-related ads.
6. Real time is now real
Today, online participation is increasingly active as millions of people share photos, videos, reviews, documents and all types of content on a daily basis. Therefore, real-time search come to the rescue of users when they want to know what is being said on the Internet at that moment.
Google’s participation in that instant gratification process includes a new Google interface that makes it easier to access real-time content.
7. The Web, more social than ever
The Social Web, also called ‘Social Media,’ is so significant that it has transformed the way the Internet is used in life, for information and business. According to Deloitte & Touche’s “Tribalization of Business” study, 94 percent of businesses will increase their investments in social networking, advertising and online communities, and this is not free.
In this sense, Google’s search engine has a new option that allows users to find everything related to their social circle throughout numerous social.
The celebration of Internet Day began in 2005, after 2nd Information Society World Summit, which sought to disseminate and promote the use of the Internet throughout society and make it more accessible, democratic and inclusive.