What it is: Mobile computing involves smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices like the Apple Watch.
At one time, Microsoft Windows held 90% of the computer market back when PCs (desktops and laptops) were the only choice. Now that smartphones, tablets, and now wearable computers have appeared, Microsoft Windows holds roughly 15% of the computer market. That’s not because everyone abandoned Windows, but because the computer market has shifted to mobile devices.
Instead of being tied down to a desktop or laptop PC, people can access the Internet, send e-mail, and play games on smartphones and tablets. What’s particularly interesting is the way mobile is not only changing the way we use computers, but also changing the way we use the Internet.
Forbes recently published an article about the changing way people access Facebook and Twitter. Rather than go through Facebook or Twitter’s web site to access the network, most people prefer using Facebook or Twitter’s dedicated app. That means the mobile browser is less important than the desktop browser.
What this means in the future is that the way we search the Internet tomorrow won’t be how we use it today. In the old days, you had to type a specific web site address to find what you wanted. If you didn’t know the address, you couldn’t find that web site.
Today, we search the Internet by visiting a search engine (using Google) and typing the type of information we want. Then the search engine finds us a list of web sites that match our query.
As mobile computing devices take over the market, you can see how people’s interaction with popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter is also changing. Now people are accessing the Internet solely through a specific app rather than a web site. Given a choice between the two-step process of visiting a web site and then doing what you want to do, or just accessing a web site’s app and getting quick and convenient access to what you want to do, dedicated apps will be one popular way people of tomorrow will access the Internet.
That means for popular web sites, you can just access the information directly without ever seeing a search engine or web page at all. For Google, that means the loss of web site advertising revenue as the advertising revenue shifts to the app creators instead.
The future of the Internet is no longer web sites and search engines, but dedicated apps. Pretty soon people will access the Internet without even realizing they’re accessing the Internet, in much the same way that people drive without realizing they’re using a car engine.
The Internet of tomorrow will be invisible. In the old days, you had to sign up for an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Now you just sign up for Internet access through a cable or telephone company. In the old days, you had to know how to navigate through the Internet to find what you wanted. Now you just load a dedicated app like Yelp or Maps and get the information you want without the hassle of using the Internet. The Internet, as we know it, is obsolete.
Google will be the first company hurt by this shift of Internet use from web sites and search engines to dedicated apps, but you can see the importance of web page designers will fade and be replaced by user experience experts and app developers instead.
By watching trends of changing times, you can predict the future with a fair amount of accuracy. By ignoring trends, you can be a victim of changing times with 100% accuracy. What would you rather do?