The Internet is an ever-changing environment, and it does so at speeds we, humans, can hardly follow.
Not so long ago, none of us had Twitter followers, we didn’t count the likes on Facebook, we didn’t record ourselves and post videos on YouTube and we weren’t watching American Netflix online.
Hell, even the idea of recording something with a phone, then uploading it using that same device to the Internet was nothing short of science-fiction some ten years ago.
But looking at what Internet has become today, it is easy to spot two trends: one is that we’re running out of IPv4 addresses at alarming rates, and two – video is becoming the number one content to consume online.
Those two things are correlated, and toss the ever increasing number of smartphone devices into the mix and you got yourself a real problem.
The number of smartphones in the world is set to double in the next two years, which also means more videos posted by people. More videos mean more bandwidth, and with the Internet running out of IP addresses, we can expect a slower, more sluggish connection.
The point of this introduction is that the Internet as we know it today has an expiration date, and that date is drawing near. Text and images are making way for videos, and with video taking up two thirds of all traffic, and with the large expansion of video services like Netflix Canada, expect big changes.
Facebook has recently implemented a view counter for its videos, in a bid to try and fight YouTube for the #1 spot in the video sharing market. Instagram has implemented videos, and Twitter has recently bought Periscope, a live video streaming app. Emphasis on ‘video’.
And most of that content will be trash, there is no doubt about it. Just browse through YouTube and you will see what I’m talking about.
Video needs to change, and there are a couple of things which are necessary so that we don’t completely break our precious Internet within the next five years:
Videos Need Better Compression
YouTube has already switched to HTML5, but that will hardly cut it. Videos, especially those in HD and Full HD resolutions (and the number of those keeps growing) are still gigantic, and they are clogging the web. Better video compression should be our number one priority.
We Need Proper Indexing
Searching for music, images or text is fairly easy online. Audio files have their metadata, so do the photos. There are even some search engine for photographs which do decent work, and searching trillions of websites and pages has been mastered long ago. But video is a completely different story, and YouTube aside, we haven’t really thought this through. Just try to search for Facebook videos, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Videos Need to be Shorter
Online video editing tools need to get much simpler and more user-friendly. A lot of videos have idle times (for example, a surveillance video might last 60 seconds, but the interesting part only lasts 10, and people are usually discouraged from editing when they see programs with hundreds of different options.
In conclusion, the face of the Internet is about to change, and I don’t think we’re ready for what’s coming. Just try not to freak out when the average internet speed starts dropping fast. Blame those cat videos you uploaded, that have a total of five views, instead.