From Fox News: “The Internet could soon be made obsolete. The scientists who pioneered it have now built a lightning-fast replacement capable of downloading entire feature films within seconds.”

What is Joe Average Going to Do With It?
IMO, it’s just hype. For what need will average consumers have of this kind of bandwidth? Any hardware (e.g. consumer pcs, even gaming consoles, etc.) that will actually be able to take any advantage won’t be available for years. Thing is, many consumer services that would take best advantage of those higher speeds (e.g. HD video) don’t take that long to download. Not long enough to warrant rushing in and adopting. So, I don’t know if it’ll really be missed.

This reminds me of Internet2 – which is apparently still in development – promising the same thing. Similarly, even, “The Grid” will primarily be available to research institutions and not the mass-consumer market.

The announcement did get me thinking, though: we haven’t seen a serious speed boost in years. In the ’90’s we saw regular modems ramp up into broadband in just a few short years. In the past decade we haven’t seen any real changes. Connectivity’s been all about making wireless faster and ubiquitous. Personally, I’m more interested in that: being untethered, inexpensively, no matter where I go with my lap-top.

Interesting Tidbits About Prospective Usage
There were a couple of take-aways from the Fox article, though. Project lead, Ian Bird says,

“It will lead to what’s known as cloud computing, where people keep all their information online and access it from anywhere,” 

Also quoted was Professor Tony Doyle, who headed up the project said,

…social networking could become the main way we communicate. 

These topics are always floating about in the industry, but not so much in mainstream media. I just find it interesting that we’re hearing about social networking and “in the cloud” on Fox News. I sometimes get the feeling that much like how creating a Web site is becoming standard curriculum, so too will be building Web apps and mashups. Not in the way an AJAX programmer thinks of a mashup, but some day understanding how to combine Web services from multiple API (of course, they won’t be called that) may become common knowledge.

What Do you Think?
I see it for team collaboration in research and design environments, but will there even be a demand for this kind of speed in the current consumer market? What in the world would the average joe even use it for? Love to hear your opinions.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
Internet 2
The Grid: The Next-Gen Internet?
Open Grid Forum

(via ‘The Grid’ Could Soon Make the Internet Obsolete)

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Bob says:

    Chris — With the big news about “The Grid” surfacing in recent days, I concluded that ‘The Grid’ is Destined to Change the Language. Check it out and let me know if you have anything to add.

  • stringbean says:

    i’m just curious; will it be in place of the internet/www, or will it be another hierarchy or tier that internet users can access? will our websites look the same? will we still be able to use HTML and our WYSIWYG programs to create websites or will the general public have to once again learn a or several updated graphic/interface application/s?

  • chrispy says:

    @Bob – that was pretty funny

    @Stringbean – Those are some really good questions. As we grow up on the Web (and I don’t think we’ll lose that vernacular, no matter the structure, a “grid” is just very well-formed Web), content producers will be able to take advantage of high-fidelity output. These won’t necessarily need HTML, etc. It’ll be more graphical and interactive in nature.

    I think hierarchies are going to continue to breakdown. The Web in itself is the anti-structure. Sure, there are clear paths (sometimes), but no distinct top-down order. The Web has been (and will always be) personalized order and because “order” is different for everyone, traditional taxonomical systems had to move folksinomical.

    Humans need order, so I think what we’re going to see more of in the next generations is not going to think about where to put things to stay organized, but rather, how will they label data to give it context for themselves. And it will be natural for them.

    As far as the actual tools… yeah, they’re going to change. I mean that’s where the real, sustainable money is. In the Gold Rush, the guys who made real money were not the prospectors, but the guys makin’ and sellin’ the shovels and pans. is one such tool maker. Their combination of high-fidelity content with the ability to give it context and meaning in social structure is how we’ll see some tools change.
    Great questions, bro. Thanks for makin’ me think :-)