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How will the internet look in 5 years time?


Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt recently gave an interview at Gartner's Expo in Orlando, USA. In front of thousands of IT Directors Schmidt outlined his vision of exactly how he thinks the internet will look in 5 years time. To most people, 5 years may not seem like a very long time but in technology terms it is an eon. In 5 years time computers (and other technology devices) will likely be much more powerful with more than quadruple the power of today, according to Moore's Law. Moore's Law describes long-term trends in computer power and (so far accurately) predicts that the number of transistors  that can be placed on an intergrated circuit board will double every 2 years. This means that processor power, memory and even digital camera capability doubles every 2 years. Schmidt envisions that the internet of the future will be largely dominated by Chinese-language content, with broadband speeds over 100mb/s for most users. The distinction between radio, TV and web will have disappeared and the internet will be be used for all these media. There is also a very real possibility that we will see a bladerunner-esque cityscape with billboards showing full video on massive flexible screens. With the increase in mobile devices, the internet is most likely to be used with true palm-sized media devices and based on current developments, possibly with flexible, expandable  displays. According to Schmidt, the surfing behavior of today's teenagers will be the model of how the internet will perform in 5 years time, jumping from application to application completely seamlessly while real-time information is displayed within the search results directly. This fundamental shift to real time search results is already taking it's very first steps with the recent news that both Bing and Google are going to show Twitter and Facebook results. The real challenge for both search engines will be how to rank these results while making sure any spam is dropped. How exactly Google does manage to overcome this challenge will be very interesting as by it's very nature they will have to come up with an alternative to the page rank system in use today.

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