The Real-time Web and its future

The Real-time Web and its future

Marshall have been kind enough, when he wrote the ReadWriteWeb report on the Real-time to ask for my opinion. I want to complete my thoughts as well as give a few hint on this report.
First : go buy the report. If you’re vaguely interested in the web-economy you should have done that already.

On the report itself

Newspapers are dying because of the internet. They’re not fast enough to write about things. Even though blog are less affected, they have exactly the same issue. The fight between ReadWriteWeb, Techcrunch, GigaOM or Mashable to get exclusivity is just a proof that they can’t spend a lot of time writing articles and they also need to write a lot.
There clearly seem to be a premium for the most frequent publisher (less deep though :/)

On top of that, people like me (and probably you, too) have a lot of trouble catching up with all that. That is why reports like this really matter. They bring back “investigation” journalism to blog and that’s great.

Real-time : the peer-to-peer architecture.

For once, I agree with Dave : the Real-Time web happens without waiting. However, I’d complete that by saying that without waiting applies to anything : people (us), but also (and more importantly) : machines.

We used to have clients talking to servers, whether they were browsers talking to websites or web applications talking to other applications via their APIs.
I think the real-time web is taking us to a world where we have a more “peer-to-peer” approach : everybody is a client and a server to everybody else.

  • In a way, when you blog, you’re a server, and your readers are your client. When you tweet, you’re both a server and client.
  • When you poll RSS feeds, you’re a client to the website that hosts these feeds, when you use Superfeedr, you become a server because you respond to our notifications (and we’re a client because we send out these requests).
  • When you use Wikipedia, you’re a client to whoever wrote the article you’re reading. When you use Aardvark, you’re both a client and a server (because you ask and answer equally).

I’m quite happy with this quote from John Borthwick, one of our investors, at Betaworks :

We believe things are becoming more connected. In the future, everything will consume APIs and publish APIs.

In a nutshell, this report is probably what’s best today to catch-up with all the real-time web. It also contains a great list of people you should follow (not only on Twitter) and who are making the real-time web happen.

Liked this post? Read the archive or

Previously, on the Superfeedr blog: State of Real-Time feeds.