Table of Contents
Web browsers, search engines, and
the open source technologies
underpinning them have more or less bootstrapped what could be called a pseudo
home shopping network (
HSN). In many
respects, the dominant language, behaviour, and environment on
The Internet mirrors that of a tightly
controlled, but free-to-view corporate marketplace where almost everything
looks, feels, and perhaps is an advertisement (
Laplace’s Demon is an
interesting idea that if there is enough information about the position and
momentum of the properties in a system, then perhaps you could predict its
future state. In my first article for this year — let’s don the hat of that
To come up with plausible predictions, my technological enthusiasm and bias for
free and open source software
FOSS) has to be suspended to build up my best arguments for the combined
incentives of the stakeholders who affect the direction of the web. These
stakeholders are governments, companies, technologists, and users. This will
effectively be an argument against myself, but it should be delightfully fun.
I’m not a market expert nor business analyst but just a random developer that
every so often works on websites for web browsers. Let’s take a look at my
predictions. It is currently the year
The URL Bar is Replaced by the Everything Search Bar
Uniform Resource Locator
URL) will be replaced by search and its visibility left as a browser
implementation detail. The blur between
URL and search term will lead to
users dropping the distinction between a
URL bar and a search bar. The primary
mode of web navigation and discovery becomes search and the first web browser to
get away with it wins big.
The frictionless transition and
URI) scheme such as
ftp:// will follow suit and disappear completely
on the user facing side. Reduced parsing complexity will open up the path
towards a full focus on
natural language processing
NLP) as more protocol supports are
FTP support removed in
or “everything box” becomes the standard and search first “omnibars” become a
ubiquitous feature in all mainstream browsers as a user friendly
NLP to navigate the web.
# install firefox and chromium now
$ pacman -S firefox chromium
# find and open the 11th edition of ecmascript
$ mupdf "$(locate --all ecmascript 11 | head --lines=1)"
"take me to amazon" -> https://www.amazon.com/
Bookmarks and History Replaced by the Integrated Search Engine
The web browser’s bookmarks and history interface will be revamped into a thin
client integrated search engine, and an offline client replica with lightly
cached bookmarks, history and search data. Current iterations of the “new tab
page” trend will motivate this new design. The history and bookmarks page will
look exactly like a
search engine results page
Startups will offer fully centralized bookmark and history storage replication
Users in aggregate rarely care about the way their personal data is used and bar legal restraints — bookmarks and history will be a new data collection source to improve search results if it isn’t already. Monetizing bookmarks and history data will be normalized, and companies will use this data to further perfect key ranking algorithms for advertisers and develop new products.
Web browser based startups will need to have both a search engine and a
browser to compete in the new space of the integrated search engine. The search
engine by itself becomes obsolete, since the web browser or rather the
operating system (
do the heavy lifting of discovery.
The Web Browser as an Internet Operating System and Specification
The Internet operating system
OS) will make its grand resurgence with rivaling feature parity to
entrenched operating systems.
Google’s Chromebook and
OS will become the most
OS. This is a device that runs
Google’s Chrome Browser as the
operating system. Competitors in this space will use the open source
OS to bootstrap their own
operating system derivatives.
Web Assembly (
WASM) will become the wild card that
fills the eventual application vacuum as the Internet
OS paradigm goes
WASM will pave the way for complete
Serial Bus) applications are already being
ported to Google Chrome and Chromium based browser derivatives.
Google’s Chrome and
derivatives will knock all other browsers off the market except
Apple’s Safari, leaving
Safari as their only contender. Chrome and Chromium
application programming interfaces (
will become the additional specification that web applications passively adopt.
Deprioritization of Open Source Software and Ascendancy of Open Source Hardware
Since most open source software (
OSS) in the web space is “obsolete” and has
bootstrapped many big players to a “good enough” position, the next destination
is to model the Apple ecosystem
and that requires bootstrapping a hardware stack with the help of
open source hardware
technological walled garden
requires stack supremacy — which involves tight control of the technological
stack down from the hardware and up to the software. The race towards stack
supremacy will cause open source hardware to ascend from obscurity into the
light and mature
OSH startups will be bought with capital.
Specialized Hardware, Eternal Defaults, and Challenging Legacy Carrier Features
Companies that reach stack supremacy will iterate on new devices and software
quickly without obstruction to create substantially better user communication
experiences. This sets the stage for “eternal defaults” and pseudo carrier like
status. Traditional carrier networks will begin to see a significant usage
decline in legacy communication schemes like
short message service (
SMS) as the
Internet backbone subsumes its function more reliably.
Big players in the market will be the equivalent of
wireless carriers or
Internet Service Providers
ISP). In the environment of specialized hardware and eternal defaults, users
would have to buy another device to have a completely different Internet
experience. Installing, removing, or bolting on software will be nigh impossible
and hard to change defaults will be everything in these markets.
Deprecation of the Developer Tools and Transition to Developer Programs
Companies that reach
Initially developer programs will be free to get many developers on board.
Implementation fragmentation will be removed by laying down strict guidelines on
web application development within the Internet
OS ecosystem. The average
user’s knowledge on basic aspects of the legacy web will be effectively
non–existent at this point.
Property Stewardship above Ownership and Co-ownership
Software as a service
Infrastructure as a service
IaaS) are lucrative business models in the software and hardware space and
will have even greater significance. The complexity of specialized hardware
combined with increasing software
The subscription model of
IaaS will extend to almost all software
and into the hardware space with phones, laptops, and tablets. Schools,
governments, and other major institutions will switch over to renting software
and hardware indefinitely. The maintenance and repair of rented hardware and
software will be relegated to approved and authorized companies. The software
industry will begin to formalize and standardize key operations into
Defragmentation Markets: Buying Interoperability and Integration
Open standards don’t make for
easy business models — pockets of incompatible fragmentation do. The lucrative
unbundling effect will give rise to
defragmentation markets and
product bundling. The
If incompatible fragmentation rests in few players, bigger players will buy
interoperability directly in partnerships or integration deals with an Internet
OS. If fragmentation has numerous players, the biggest Internet
will facilitate users being able to buy and bundle services directly in deals
with smaller players. Installing multiple applications that have similar
functionality and siloed
network effects will be tough on
users causing product interoperability bundling to become the
For example, product interoperability bundling for chat applications would mean that users of one chat application could communicate with users of another application.
- Chat: Facebook Messenger, Discord, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Telegram, Signal, Viber, WeChat, Line, FaceTime, Google Chat
Vertical search engines will be
APIs that the omnibar consumes. Search bars on websites and web
applications will disappear to avoid user confusion and developer programs will
ensure tight integration. Capital will determine interoperability in this
market, and Internet operating systems will have integration deals for prominent
vertical search engines on major web applications.
Modern protocols are also up for defragmentation. The Internet
competitive advantage by amalgamating disparate protocols by either
IPFS(Inter Planetary File System), Tor (The Onion Router),
I2P(Invisible Internet Project), ZeroNet, BitTorrent, Matrix,
IRC(Internet Relay Chat)
Unblockable Advertisements, Cryptocurrency and Interaction Fees
Advertisements (ads) will be baked into the experience of the Internet in a way
it cannot be easily or freely disabled. Native ad–blocking will become an
integral part of this achievement with death by a thousand white–lists. The
increasing popularity of ad–blocking will incentivize a
Direct cryptocurrency payments will become a short term alternative to the
advertisement model, but its fragmented and controversial influence will carry
it into a merged union with established financial institutions and ad markets as
it meets the requirements of
too big to fail (
The centralized union of crypto markets with established financial markets will allow for seamless integration of Internet interaction fees. Micropayments will become the norm for many interactions you can currently still do for free, such as clicking links, copying text, and downloading images.
More businesses will converge around advertising, and there will be few
alternative revenue models. Since all users operate within the frame of an ad
market, those who wish to avoid advertisements will pay subscription fees to
partially or completely
Deprecating Registration Forms: Universal Password and Data Management
Internet operating systems will have feature complete password, data, and role
management functionality. Users will have to enter their personal data on their
systems only once to enable one click registration to any service. This is one
step up from the single sign-on
(sign in with) buttons that are ubiquitous across the web — to a new one
click registration and permission based
One click registration will obsolete completing registration forms in web
applications, and pave the way for product bundling integrations. Personal data
will be stored on remote servers while the Internet
OS locally stores
transitory and key metadata.
Security tokens will become
ubiquitous and modern devices will be authenticated with physical digital keys.
Market Share Dominance, New Mobile Operating Systems, and Global Carrier Wars
Market dominance will hinge particularly on the tablet and phone mobile markets.
Companies in this space will have their own Internet operating system for mobile
devices. Chrome and Chromium’s specification will be the base, but dominant
companies will eventually diverge and create their own proprietary
their specific devices.
OS companies with dominant market share influence and multi–national
cloud infrastructure will become “global carriers” and manage communications
services in more jurisdictions on the Internet backbone, eventually competing
more directly with legacy carrier networks.
# Hypothetical Market Share
"Google/ChromeOS" : 55
"Microsoft/EdgeOS" : 14
"Apple/Safari" : 12
"* Facebook/MetaOS" : 9
"Brave Browser/BraveOS" : 5
"* Amazon Silk/FireOS" : 1
"* SpaceX/StarlinkOS" : 1
"DuckDuckGo Browser/DuckOS" : 1
"Firefox Browser/FirefoxOS" : 1
"Opera Browser/OperaOS" : 1
Brave Software will have
high upward swing potential. Facebook
(now known as Meta Platforms),
SpaceX will enter the mobile phone
OS market by onboarding a new user base.
Conclusion and Alternative Disruptions
That was a wild ride, and while my hope is that none of the above happens — anything is possible because money can align the most distant stars. Let’s conclude with a brief look at possible disruptions that can easily nullify the plausibility of everything written before.
Out of a
Let he that is not a shill among you cast the first stone.
Search engines are increasingly looking more like ad brochures and streaming
services, like home shopping networks. One might as well
Personally, it’s difficult to find convincing information on the efficacy of ads
from the advertiser’s point of view in aggregate. Do advertisers have clear
beneficial signals from personalized advertisements? It’s not easy to shake the
feeling that it only takes a single company to create an online product that
Is there a way to guarantee a product was bought because of an ad?
What would cause people to pay to watch ads or read classifieds for product leads?
Can we search for, read, and watch by category every advertisement in one place?
What would a strictly advertisement only global streaming service or proper classifieds search engine look like?
Why do people watch Super Bowl ads?
The technology at our disposal, particularly