I once had a dream, where your operating system loads up. Their is no TaskBar, Start Button and Menu items, its simply a funky desktop background and a search box in the middle (see Right Image). As a user types in a word, in this case “Bris” it automatically adjusts its perspective and populates the screen with some assumed results, based off of my internal profile (i.e. It knows I live in Brisbane, and therefore assumes the Bris is Brisbane but still allows me to break out, with an autocomplete style box) it adjusts the screens real estate and look and feel to suite my context of intended use.
Context is King, NOT Content ( I know the big boss once said that, but things change ) and in this example, this provides context to my world. I mean the seperation between what makes up a webpage and what makes up a piece of software can be considered blurred. If you look at the emerging technologies and and the path forward with them, you can clearly see that the the line of 5-6 years ago, is starting to get blury and fade just like they are in Windows Vista (that’s a great example actually, if you look at Windows 3.11 chrome all the way up to Windows Vista, one can see that the outlines begin to fade and into something more positive, evolution is awesome).
I sat at my friend Chucks place today (different Chuck to MS Chuck) and he’s basically got a home-grown PC, tucked in his entertainment unit running Media Centre. The whole place is networked and since his office is in the back shed, his wife uses instant messager to nudge him via Windows Media Centre on the TV with “Scott’s here, come to the lounge room“.
Take that another step further, I ring the doorbell, and it sends a message via the network to his computer and up pops MS Messenger “You have someone at the door“, followed by a Live Video feed being switched on outside his house (either using MSN Messenger Live Meeting or Adobe Flash Media Server, take your pick, its available now and here today).
This is all possible and more, and its about context and for me that is what Web 4.0 is about.
I’m not alone thankfully, as the infamous Seth Godin made yet another masterful blog post, capturing a much more interesting version of Web 4.0.
So its not about whether Microsoft WPF will kill Adobe Apollo as these are simply the “tools”, it still is up to you the developer(s) and designer(s) (pioneers for a better word) to come up with the aggregation of these technologies and produce something that is relevant to my context as a potential consumer. You have tools now, and more are coming off the factory line, start building.
Don’t laugh, as I once said “one day, there will be a minority report interface to our way of operating on a PC“. I was mocked and told “ergnomics wouldn’t allow it” by industrial designer friends. It’s now been done, and I’m expecting it any year now to hit the local hardware market.
Web 2.0? pft, Web 4.0 please.