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    • thorgalle
      Top reader this week
      9 months ago

      One nuance where the article missed the ball is the technical "web" vs. "internet" distinction. HTML5 did succeed, in a way. We can access most services we use today on the web. Many desktop apps, and mobile apps too, are driven by web tech.

      However, most web traffic is indeed going to giant, centralized services, as predicted. It is indeed the independent, open web that has taken a background role.

      We'll pay for convenience and reliability, which is why iTunes can sell songs for 99 cents despite the fact that they are out there, somewhere, in some form, for free. When you are young, you have more time than money, and LimeWire is worth the hassle. As you get older, you have more money than time.

      This is true! I wonder what the teenagers of today do here today. Spotify Free with ads?

    • jeff9 months ago

      This article was published 10 years ago but is still relevant and a super interesting read. The open web lives on but I'd say that gauging its health is difficult and the advent of AI systems built on large language models poses yet another threat to it.

      Many of the trends away from the decentralized web towards apps, walled gardens, and subscriptions continues, but at the same time it's also easier than ever to buy your own domain name, setup your own website, and create your own content. Getting paid for that content isn't a solved problem but I don't expect it ever will be.

      Even the largest centralized services like YouTube and Spotify offer both ad-based and subscription-based products. There's a fundamental tension between wanting your content to be both discoverable so that people find it and restricted so that people have to pay for it. It's difficult to find the right mix and consumer demands and tastes change over time.

      Overall I'm optimistic for the future of the web. Chaos might not be a business model but it breeds novelty; something we all crave that I don't think any one product or company can supply indefinitely.