Friday, September 10, 2010

Wired Magazine: Really? The Web Is Dead?

The Web Is Dead.

Or so says and article in Wired Magazine: The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet

They include a fancy graph at the top of the article as proof of the authors statements.
However, that graph seems to be misleading if I'm interpreting it correctly. Lets take a look.

Sources: Wired Magazine per Cisco estimates based on CAIDA publications, Andrew Odlyzko

Notice that DNS and Web are down relative to video and peer-to-peer however we know that they are not down; DNS alone still happens every time your computer needs to translate a name to a number and it happens a lot more in your computer and on more devices than it ever has... it's just a very small amount of data. If the values are a proportion of traffic, then even if Web (http) usage was increasing, the volume of a movie or p2p file transfer (also most likely a movie) would dilute the figures so that it looked like "the web" was dead as the author claimed.

In fact all this is really showing is that the proportion of data attributed to video is rising, which we know to be true as more and more people get their content via streams (Netflix, iTunes, Youtube, etc). It shows that more data is video, and possibly the web has become more efficient... in no way does it actually indicate that "the web is dead".

I am very surprised that Wired would make this kind of mistake, let alone that others pass it along without actually understanding what they are looking at.

It's one of those inaccurate mumbo jumo articles that can actually define the attitudes that make it come to pass, although I very much doubt that it will in the next 15 years at least.
It actually unfortunate that the authors (Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff) made this mistake, because even though they did have some interesting things to say, they caused themselves to be taken les seriously using that data as a basis of their article.

It really makes you wonder how many people are going to read that article and not actually look at the graph.
I can see it now; I'll be talking to some customer and he/she will tell me "The Web Is Dead"... at which point I'll likely apply palm to face.

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