The Internet of Now Changes Our Definition of "Experience"
Why we made a new browser for the iPad [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY23b1X9mAM]
The world becomes more palatable when we assign things numbers. We know the date and time by number. And everyone understands the development of the Web through its numerical sequences (1.0, 2.0, etc.) But what if we were to skip the numbers and simply refer to the online world as the "Internet of Now"? What would we discover?
For starters, we'd realize that numerical identifiers are a bit restrictive. The world of digital communications is always changing, so it's best not to limit the particular stage of its evolution by assigning it a number. If we really wanted to document that change, we'd find that every day we'd be experiencing a new Web (2.001, 2.002, and so on).
The Internet of Now, on the other hand, allows us to live in the moment and make innovations without being encumbered by monikers. A Scandinavian scientist uses the term to refer to the fact that Web sites are no longer the simplistic things they were when a URL address bar was all we needed to navigate the online universe. When you think about it, using a URL to negotiate the Web today is like taking to an expressway in a horse and carriage.
Today's smarter organizations are all about being conscious of their digital consumers. So much so that companies often learn more about their value propositions from the people who buy their products as they do from their internal strategists. Knowing the digital consumer begins with being able to meet his or her expectations. Part of that effort involves knowing to what extent the consumer will be engaged over a mobile device or on a laptop.
Think about the search engine you use every day. It's indispensable, right? Well, without even realizing it, chances are it serves you as more of a recommendation engine. In some ways, your computing platform is searching you. It comes up with recommendations for what to do, where to drive, and how to get there. Such a development changes the very essence of how we experience our lives. Indeed, as organizations become savvier as to how they engage digital consumers, they're coming to the realization that one size doe not fit all - especially when it comes to Web browsers. When a consumer is using a keyboard and mouse, an online shopping experience is far different than if she were to scroll down the screen of her smartphone.
That scientist I referred to has invented a new browser that, I think, stands as a wonderful example of disruptive innovation. For the better part of two decades, we've viewed the act of navigating the Web as an exercise in surfing. Instead, she looked at the activity of today's digital consumers as something a bit different. The term she uses to describe navigational activities in the Internet of Now is coasting.
Without getting into the minutia of this new Web browsing concept, a consumer can view sites on smartphones in a more mobile way. That is, she can view pages without a plethora of tabs that always seem to demand her attention. She can scroll up and down but also side to side and let whatever Web site she's on take her to new and unexpected places. A reviewer said that if the Web site were that of a news organization, he was likely to read more of the articles because of the way they were organized for the mobile site.
Great innovations don't have to be earth shattering. They can be subtle and change the way we look at the world in incremental but important ways. In the case of the new browser concept, people stepped back and asked why the basic structure of a Web browser hadn't changed in 20 years. By not being constrained by a Web 2.0 or 3.0 and instead living in the digital moment, we can take a fresh look at how we communicate and what moves us to do what we do online.
The markets are positioning themselves for new entrants who don't feel limited by Web sites that for a long time were structured in a traditional way. Just as our devices are changing, so, too, are the formats by which we connect to each other. And that changes the definition of experience for everyone.