“The Grid”

Times Online writes:

The Internet could soon be made obsolete. The scientists who pioneered it have now built a lightning-fast replacement capable of downloading entire feature films within seconds.

At speeds about 10,000 times faster than a typical broadband connection, "the grid" will be able to send the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds.

This is pretty interesting, but this technology is years away, isn't it? Apparently not:

The grid has been built with dedicated fibre optic cables and modern routing centres, meaning there are no outdated components to slow the deluge of data. The 55,000 servers already installed are expected to rise to 200,000 within the next two years.

The article continues to explain that "the grid itself is unlikely to be directly available to domestic internet users", but I can't imagine it taking very long for ISPs to pick up on the technology and start offering a new generation of high-speed Internet, er, "grid" services.

The main question I would like answered is, how will this affect the Web? Personally, I don't think very much will change in the scope of a few years. I don't anticipate any major modifications to the HTTP protocol, Web browsers, or even scripting languages.

I do believe that Web applications will make incredible advancements and cloud computing will become more prominent. After all, we've already seen these trends rise with the introduction of Gmail, Google Docs, Flickr, and Mint. With a data network 10,000 times faster than the Internet, Web applications such as Adobe Photoshop Express will become extremely popular, and we may even see some advanced versions of video editing Web apps.

There are a lot of people out there that claim social networking is a "fad" (including Microsoft's Steve Ballmer). I tend to believe that it will only improve and become more popular as the Internet (grid?) progresses. In fact, Tony Doyle, technical director of the grid project, may be correct in assuming that "social networking could become the main way we communicate." Of course, I'm sure that MySpace and Facebook will be a lot different once they get on a network as powerful as "the grid".

From: Coming Soon: superfast internet

Photo courtesy of Kevin Zollman.

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