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As the browser turns 18 years old, it may be losing some of its importance
My friend Howard Lindzon DM'd me on Twitter last night. He asked if I would agree to be interviewed on Skype next week on a series he is doing titled "The Web Is Dead." When I saw the DM, I shuddered. My good friend the Web is dead? No way.
But then I thought about a conversation I had with Saul Klein when I was in London a few weeks ago. Saul told me he is using the Web a lot less and his iPad and iPhone a lot more.
I don't personally have that experience. I use the Web more and more. I've moved most everything I do to the web from desktop apps. And on my Android phone, I mostly use the web browser. I have a few apps, but the browsing experience is so good on Android and so familiar to me. And on the iPad, I mostly use the browser and the Kindle app.
So the web is not dead to me. But if Howard is asking the question and if Saul is a case in point, it is a question we must get our heads around. Our firm invests in web services and they have been very very good to us.
In a board meeting yesterday, the founder said, "everything we do is cloud-based, with an API, and mobile friendly." He did not say "everything we do runs in a browser." So to me that means the Internet and the cloud is more important than ever. But the Web browser as a platform may be losing some of its importance as it turns 18 and becomes an adult.
There are some aspects of the web that I will hate to lose. The first and foremost is links. If we are going to retire the web browser some day, we cannot retire links. They are what makes the Internet work. I also will miss the "write once read many" aspect of the Web. Sure there are differences between the various Web browsers out there but for the most part, when you write a Web app it runs on most popular Web browsers fairly well. That is very much not the case with all the various mobile environments that are emerging.
I am personally rooting for HTML5 to reverse this trend. But I hear that HTML5 is a few years away from where it can be the platform we all want it to be. I am very curious what the readers of this blog think about that.
As I was writing this post, I realized (courtesy of our portfolio company Zemanta's blogging tool) that Howard was inspired by a Wired piece penned by Chris Anderson called The Web Is Dead. A Debate. I will go read what Chris has to say on this. And most of all, I am curious what all of you think.
(For more from Fred, visit his blog)
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