Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The third generation of Internet usage

Richard MacManus started an interview series on Read/WriteWeb. In the first one he asked Judy Gibbons of Accel about her thoughts on the "next generation web". Read it here.

Richard asked Judy for a few examples of companies that are under-hyped. Judy's answer:
Personal home pages like Pageflakes & Netvibes. These represent the third generation of Internet usage: first portals because there was little content and it was hard to find; second search because there was an ever increasing amount of content if you could only track it down; now personalized 'pull' home pages, because most sophisticated users know what content and apps they want to check into every day - and they want these brought to them to improve productivity.

While we can't complain about not getting enough attention, I do completely agree with Judy that most people haven't yet fully realized the impact which startpages like Pageflakes and Netvibes can have in the future. Currently both Pageflakes and Netvibes appeal mainly to early adopters like you and me – TechCrunch readers who manage their bookmarks with Del.icio.us, upload their photos at Flickr and use a bunch of other Web 2.0 services which 90% of the general population never heard of.

But what you see on sites like Pageflakes today is a mere glimpse of what they can offer in the future (stay tuned!). As they cover more and more parts of users' digital lives, offer access to an ever increasing variety of mainstream services and become easier to use for casual Internet users, they will indeed be able to represent the "third generation of Internet usage", as Judy put it. If you will, companies like Pageflakes strive to become for Web 2.0 what AOL and Yahoo were for Web 0.5 and what Google is for Web 1.0.
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