What happened to the web in 2014?

André Staltz traces the "web is dead" inflection point to 2014 and the answer is the obvious one: Facebook. The details are more complex, though, and involve Google giving up on its social media efforts, Facebook taking direct control of which websites are exposed to its users, various Facebook publishing schemes (some backed by fraudulent metrics, a la pivot to video), the switch of everything to mobile-first, and (later, in 2018) Amazon achieving a 50% market share for online retail.

There is a tendency at GOOG-FB-AMZN to bypass the Web which is motivated by user experience and efficient communication, not by an agenda to avoid browsers. In the knowledge internet and the commerce internet, being efficient to provide what users want is the goal. In the social internet, the goal is to provide an efficient channel for communication between people. This explains FB’s 10-year strategy with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as the next medium for social interactions through the internet. This strategy would also bypass the Web, proving how more natural social AR would be than social real-time texting in browsers. Already today, most people on the internet communicate with other people via a mobile app, not via a browser.

The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.

How to stop the new overlords scorching the digital Earth but for its most profitable parts? They intend to lock away the internet inside high-end appliances and opaque applications that allow only for predesigned, predictable, graphable experiences.