Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Way We use the Internet is Changing: The Internet is Personal

The other day, I stepped back and looked at my Internet activity. As you may have noticed, the Internet is becoming personal.

Google became famous and powerful by indexing the (most of the) Internet so that you and I can effectively search it. However, more and more content is being created behind closed doors that require logins to access. I am not sure if this is good or bad. Of sites that I have bookmarked, the following require me to login (to do what I want):
  1. Gmail
  2. Google Reader
  3. Blogger
  4. Dropbox
  5. Pandora
  6. Launchpad
  7. Ubuntu Forums
  8. Ubuntu Brainstorm
  9. Wellsfargo
  10. Project Euler
  11. KGS Go Server
  12. Facebook
  14. Several things at ISU
  15. Several things at UWM
...and I only have 27 bookmarks total, so 56% of my bookmarks require a login. Furthermore, some of my bookmarks have, what I would consider, an optional or partial login (I do not have to login to do what I normally want to do or, in the case of Weather, is not specific to just me):
  1. Weather (enter my zip code)
  2. Digg
  3. Newegg
  4. Youtube
  5. Sensei's Library
If you include these five, then 74% of my bookmarks require a login.

Since I have posted almost all of my bookmarks anyway, here are the rest of my bookmarks:
  1. IP2Location
  2. Transmission Web Interface
  3. BibleGateway
  4. EidoGo - Kogo's Joseki
  5. TED
  6. dpaste
  7. TorrentFreak
Searching is far more important that it used to be. I will often give up trying to use a sites navigation or their own search capabilities and instead use Google's "site:" feature to search the site. However, since I frequent so many gated Internet communities, the content is already tailored to my preferences. That makes using the Internet easier for me but harder for the next person that wants to join the community. Why? Because the ability to search that gated community is restricted. It is more difficult for a newcomer to decide if this community is worth joining.

In conclusion, a personalized Internet is more difficult to search.

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