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Google’s ex-CEO Eric Schmidt gave a speech at London’s Science Museum last night where he said he sees the web becoming nothing and everything; how it will drive change in society and how he believes the world will become more democratic as a result.
I personally can’t ‘live’ without the web. It has changed the way that I work and go about all facets of my life. I use it at least a hundred times a day to do just about anything from research, to shopping for food, clothes and cars, to buying a house to booking myself into dressage comps. When I look back at how I had to do research when I was a student, it was a case of spending days in the library, searching through dusty books and looking through microfiche (I actually look back at this through rose-tinted glasses and when I regale such tales to my nephew he looks at me as though I am at least one hundred years old). However, the reality was, it took a ‘while’ to find what you needed. Now, a few keywords later and hundreds of references are at my fingertips, so productivity is so much higher.
The downside of this instant encyclopaedia is the issue of misinformation; after all, anyone can put anything up there. And the other big problem is access. How many people actually have Internet at home or work that they can use – there is without doubt a digital divide in this country let alone the rest of the world. Communities have even resorted to building their own broadband networks due to the lack of investment from operators.
However, one thing that cannot be ignored is that the web really has become significant when it comes to news. Once a story is on the web, it’s out there. No taking it back. But will the web become nothing and everything, well only time will tell.