André Staltz

    is a Brasilian blogger and programmer based in Helsinki. He spends most of my time building transparent software. His particular areas of focus are user interfaces, reactive programming, JavaScript, and peer-to-peer networks. He started by programming games, becoming, in 2013, senior developer of the fundraising website Futurice. His essay “The Web Began Dying In 2014, Here’s How”, published on his blog, was widely quoted by major European websites in early October: “From the 90s until the 2010s, the Web we have experienced has been, albeit somewhat imperfectly, faithful to its original purpose. The Web’s diversity has granted space for multiple businesses to innovate and thrive, independent hobbyist communities to grow, and personal sites to be hosted on whatever physical servers can host them. The internet’s infrastructural diversity is directly tied to the success of diverse Web businesses and communities. The Web’s openness is vital for its security, accessibility, innovation and competitiveness. After 2014, we started losing the benefits of the internet’s infrastructural and economical diversity. It is difficult to compete with AMZN’s and GOOG’s Cloud Services, which host a massive amount of sites for other businesses. Any website aspiring for significant traffic depends on Search and Social traffic. […] GOOG’s shift away from Search is a sign how they are growing their strategy beyond the Web. For many years, Google used to be just a tool that played the important role of assisting the Web, by indexing it. Lately, however, it is not attractive for Google to be a mere search engine of the Web. For the purposes expressed in their mission statement, ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’, the search engine approach has been exhausted. The multi-second path from search query, to search results, to webpage, to information, is too long to provide an ideal user experience. Their goal is to cut the middlemen in that path. […] These are no longer the same companies as 4 years ago. GOOG is not anymore an internet company, it’s the knowledge internet company. FB is not an internet company, it’s the social internet company. They used to attempt to compete, and this competition kept the internet market diverse. Today, however, they seem mostly satisfied with their orthogonal dominance of parts of the Web, and we are losing diversity of choices. […] The Web may die like most other technologies do: simply by becoming less attractive than newer technologies. And like most obsolete technologies, they don’t suddenly disappear, neither do they disappear completely. You can still buy a Walkman and listen to a tape with it, but the technology has nevertheless lost its collective relevance. The Web’s death will come as a gradual decay of its necessity, not as a dramatic loss. […] The internet will survive longer than the Web will. GOOG-FB-AMZN will still depend on submarine internet cables (the “Backbone”), because it is a technical success. That said, many aspects of the internet will lose their relevance, and the underlying infrastructure could be optimized only for GOOG traffic, FB traffic, and AMZN traffic. It wouldn’t conceptually be anymore a “network of networks”, but just a “network of three networks”, the Trinet, if you will. The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.”
    Photo: Reactive