It is the Social Era for Internet

Date:   Monday , January 03, 2011

Over the last two decades, we have seen first the emergence of the Internet as a commercial medium, followed by the advent of Web 2.0 after the dot-com bust. Now we are entering a new era of the Web, which will be shaped by the significant new trends we have seen in recent years.

The Web is no longer just about connections between websites, but has become centered on connections between people. This new era, often referred to as the social web, will redefine the online landscape both by changing how we communicate, and by facilitating the creation of applications that leverage these new social connections. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, all have different social graphs and create interconnections between people in unique ways.

In addition to its changing focus, the Web is now accessed in many more ways. Mobile is dramatically changing how we access information online, not just with mobile browsers, but with applications on platforms like iOS and Android as well. These apps leverage both the Web and the social graph. More people are now on the Web all the time, with the mobile device becoming the main way we stay connected.

Another significant trend is the emergence of rich online media. Video has taken the Web by storm, stemming primarily from the rise of YouTube. Video is an increasing part of our lives, creating changes in communication (for example, Appleís FaceTime) and entertainment (for example, Hulu). We are going to see continued innovation as video production and distribution become easier and more cost-effective.

This is a very exciting time for entrepreneurs because innovations are occurring at every level. Cloud computing is reaching scale with the significant adoption of both its infrastructure and related applications. Itís easier than ever to create a Web company with an array of tools and open source offerings. Social media continues to revolutionize the distribution of online applications, using payment systems, advertising revenue, and access to a large, engaged audience.

Entrepreneurs have a wealth of opportunity right now. The economy is just regaining strength, and entrepreneurs that get started now will have a running start as the economy gets traction. Raising capital is still a challenge in this environment, and businesses are tentative about making large investments. Entrepreneurs must ensure that they create offerings with a degree of longevity to carry them through what may be a very slow economic recovery.

Each day, more people are on the Internet from more places around the world than ever before, a growth that will ramp up as global adoption of the Internet continues to rise. Itís important to recognize how early a stage of development, the Web is really in. We are just getting started.

The author is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer,