The internet is constantly evolving and changing and growing, in more ways than I could list. It’s changing visually, as design trends grow, adapt and alter over time. It’s changing in terms of its functionality, as competing technologies add more and more features to get an edge over their rivals. It’s changing behind the scenes, as the HTML and CSS code that make up the vast majority of the web get major upgrades, adding a wealth of new capabilities to our humble web browsers.
Most of these changes go completely unnoticed by most. A lot of people wouldn’t be able to see any difference between a HTML5 video and an embedded Flash video. The functionality made available by HTML5 and CSS3 is, for the most part, very subtle, but it means a lot for the future of the internet, and it’s incredibly powerful.
And yet, sadly, a shocking majority of internet users still use Internet Explorer 6, a browser so antiquated that it lacks such essential features as tabbed browsing, has incredibly lax security, and cannot display HTML5/CSS3 functionality, causing its users to miss out on a great deal of the modern internet.
But the physical changes constantly occurring on the web aren’t the limits of its evolution. It’s also changing in the ways that people use it and think about it. For a lot of people, Facebook is the Alpha and Omega of the web, and from a technological standpoint it has some very impressive functionality, and it’s constantly adding more. Web giants Google love to improve their services in ways that make people use the web more effectively. The recent addition of Google Instant to their search functionality is already changing the way people search for information.
Twitter is yet another example of the internet changing. It filled a gap in the internet that nobody knew was even there. All of a sudden, everybody has a Twitter account and posts brief messages about all sorts of things throughout the day. It makes it easy to follow trends, and it allows information to spread extraordinarily quickly between an incredible number of people world wide.
And on top of all of this, the technology we use to access and view the internet is improving every day, too. Our computers are getting faster and more powerful, our mobile devices like phones and tablet computers are able to do more and more, and the speeds at which we can connect to the internet and download data are increasing, allowing websites and online applications to grow in terms of functionality and size.
The internet grows and evolves fast. Blink and you’ll miss it. It’s not easy to imagine how much it will have changed in five, ten, or even fifty years, but it’s safe to say that it’s not going to stay in one place for very long.