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At 40 years old, what's next for the Internet?

Sharon Gaudin | Sept. 4, 2009
Experts predict an expanding online 3D world and much more collaboration

He added that he also is expecting to see more online collaboration, much like the Wikipedia process of gathering information. The online encyclopedia features articles written collaboratively by volunteers from around the globe.

More sites and applications, even those focused on news and blogging, could take advantage of the mobile Internet to become far more collaborative, according to Weber.

"Wikipedia works really well. That particular area has proven very powerful," he noted. "Blogging is great but you just have a whole bunch of scattered blogs with no central place and no interaction. [Think of ] the power of really collaborative media with everybody adding their little dab of paint to the same painting. Make journalism a big synergy of effort."

For Sean Koehl, technology evangelist for Intel Labs, the future of the Internet has a much more three-dimensional look.

"What's going to happen when you bring the visual experiences you can get in a modern game to the Internet?" asked Koehl. "It really has been mostly text-based since its inception. There's been some graphics on Web pages and animation, but bringing life-like 3D environments onto the Web really is only beginning. We're really excited about transitioning from a 2D Web to a 3D Web."

It's all about making your online life more like your real life, according to Koehl.

For instance, he foresees a time when online shoppers will scan their bodies to create life-like online models. That way they can go into 3D dressing rooms in an online store and actually see how the clothes would look on their body.

He also said people could use these 3D images of themselves in conjunction with a realistic 3D set up of a family house or favorite restaurant to set up online family reunions.

"Some of it is already happening ... though the technical capabilities are a little bit basic right now," said Koehl. "You need to be able to share a distributed environment. In the next three to five years, the capabilities of the basic worlds are going to be a lot better. You'll start to have a 3D world that will start to look pretty realistic."


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