Apps could kill open internet - study
23 March 2012, 14:22
San Francisco - The free-ranging internet is under assault by mobile
applications that connect people exclusively to content kept in "walled
gardens" online, according to a US study.
While 59% of the
experts surveyed for the study felt that the web would continue to
thrive, they also thought "apps" for gadgets such as smartphones and
tablets would power an "anti-internet" used only to connect to services
such as films or Facebook feeds instead of for open exploration.
of couch potatoes you'll have app potatoes," European Broadcasting
Union head of institutional relations Giacomo Mazzone said in survey
"There will be again a digital divide. This one will be
between those who will prefer to use ready-made applications and those
who are building ways or searching on their own to find the needed
The internet could give way to a hybrid model that
combines open-ended quests for information or content with the use of
apps tailored to plug efficiently into offerings hosted on online
servers, survey respondents said.
experts generally believe the mobile revolution, the popularity of
targeted apps, the monetisation of online products and services, and
innovations in cloud computing will drive web evolution," the study
"Some survey respondents say while much may be gained,
perhaps even more may be lost if the 'appification' of the web comes to
Slightly more than a thousand experts were surveyed for
the Pew Research Centre's Internet & American Life Project study
that took a non-scientific look at how people will share and gather
information online by the year 2020.
"Apps' ability to meet
specific needs becomes a double-edged sword; they simplify life and
create 'walled gardens' and a lack of serendipity," venture capitalist
Richard Titus is quoted as saying in the survey.
"The web is
about discovery and serendipity, it's about finding something you
weren't looking for... To lose that would be to take a step back in our
progress as intellectual humans, the equivalent of burning a digital