I posted this on Buzzmachine a while back and stumbled upon it again. I agree with myself here and am a little disappointed that I’d forgotten my point. This is one of those stream of thoughts I enjoy because it’s a little bit bigger than just technology. It is about information, the technology you just have to know to speak the language.
# KirkH Says:
October 26th, 2005 at 6:52 pm
What value does del.icio.us add? They allow me to manage my bookmarks from any computer in the world, you call it portability. Well what if someone created an open source WordPress plugin that replicated those features? In a few years, (sure this sounds crazy) when mobile broadband is ubiquitous, everybody will have a server somewhere (probably LAMP). Personal servers will be like cellphones are now though hopefully easier to use.
That means we won’t need Flickr or Del.icio.us to store our content anymore. Google will still have the ads next to its search results but it’s entirely possible that tagging (Flock could make it ubiquitous) will out do Google’s spam succeptable web crawler system. In fact Google hires people to spot check data. If you apply something like Reddit.com’s up/down voting system to del.icio.us then spam might just cease to be a problem (imagine a button on a web browser that you could click to flag a spam site). Or think Hot or Not but for websites.
So in 10 years when IPV6 is out and everybody can have a handful of IP addresses(phone numbers for servers) for next to nothing, and everybody has their own server instead of using a federation of web based services with quazi-open APIs, we will be in control of our own information. Netflix-esque recommendations will work for websites, photos, ideas, etc. and search engines as we know them would become useless when enough people are tagging. I already use del.icio.us more than Google to find stuff. Same thing with Flickr and images instead of images.google.com.
Web 3.0 (I know I know, and assuming the gray goo doesn’t get us) might be the same as web 2.0 except instead of using large corporate web apps, we’ll just apt-get the latest greatest version of OpenSource-Flickr and run it on our personal servers. This will probably start with plugins but it might eventually evolve into a big, well integrated application that handles blogging, tagging, photos, an open version of skype to store voice/video mail, bittorrent, me-mail server, and all sorts of preferences. It’d be far more economical to do this with shared hosting and stream content to whatever odd little devices we’re using at that time.
The advantage of centralization is that it’s simple to create something like the “Flickr Interesting Photos from the last 24 hours” page. The only way to solve that problem would be with some sort of newfangled peer to peer system assuming they’re not outlawed by then. So corporations will no longer have a monopoly on centralization.
And that is why I think Flock is a big deal. It brings tagging to the masses. If Firefox and/or IE encourage a user to create an account somewhere before bookmarks work the search problem takes care of it self.
My point is that we can regain control by using open source alternatives to the current big web2.0 apps on our own servers. An open source search engine is only possible if it takes advantage of the wisdom of the crowds. That’ll be possible when everybody starts tagging.