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Mobile Browsing Rethought

October 12, 2014

For the longest time, I have been the most ardent advocate of three layered structures, not just on the web but also in the brick and mortar world. The reason is simple: game theory. Human psychology is such that it favours monopolies even though monopolies are as bad as things could possibly get. A three layer structure, properly thought out, can achieve the unthinkable – a non monopolizable structure.

Mobile Browsing as a space is ripe for disruption and you guessed it, a three layered structure could achieve such disruption.

The biggest problem with websites is that they are interactive but not standardized.

The biggest problem with syndication is that it is standardized but not interactive.

So clearly there is a sweet spot somewhere which is both interactive and standardized.

We have users with their browsers on the one hand and we have service providers with their websites on the other. What we want is some sort of middle layer that operates between these two groups.

What could such a layer possibly do? To start with, it could do FORMATTING, lol.

No I’m serious.

Imagine a service that could reformat each and every website into a standardized template.

Imagine if we could buy things without being aware of whether it is Amazon or Newegg.

This is possible because if both Amazon and Newegg make their products available to middle parties, third parties can present these on a single page.

Yes such transparent cooperation is a near impossible mission but only to begin with. We need to make a start.

We need to break down the gigantic problem into smaller pieces.

Why I am stressing on REFORMATTING is because the clients are so much more diverse than the services.

To start with, let’s take a simplified case: a service which mediates only between a single website and all its diverse users.

Let’s say I am a user with an email account and three devices: a phone, a tablet and a desktop PC. In the real world I would have to depend on the email provider to support all three types of access. Now based on how popular and responsible that service is, I would experience varying levels of support and refinement.

But what if there were a third party whose raison d’être was to provide a high level of refinement for my email experience. What if I could simply switch apps and threaten to stop using this third party in case it fails to live up to my expectation or keep up with what other such services are offering.

So essentially what I am proposing is this:

We need apps that are backed up with cloud services which are authorized to mediate in any and all our interactions with the actual web services out there. In other words, Cloud service B mediates between website A and user C.

It is allowed to do so because it offers to customize the experience based on User’s C’s hardware and usage patterns.

And because Cloud Service B is just a middleman, it always lives in fear of being replaced. So it tries to support as many user configs and website types as it can possibly afford to.

By User Configs I mean, if I am on Android 4.1 and have a 800×480 screen but only 256MB RAM and 512kbps access, I am still good to go because Cloud Service B would reformat the Websites A1, A2 and so on to fit my setup. And it is not just about reformatting, there is also real time malware detection implicit in such moderation.

Hopefully the story wont end there. Because Cloud Service B could get into acceleration of common components. But even that has been done before. What we are talking is a much higher level of integration later on.

For instance, today we talk of price comparison because each seller is locked into their own system. Later on it would all be dynamic based on the demand and supply situation. There won’t be any need of price comparison, only price history where the buyer would decide at what level of demand does he want to bite, if at all.

At least to my mind, it is the ideal setup.

Imagine all users and websites plugging into third party cloud services that offer a far more customized, standardized and refined experience to one and all. Imagine senior citizens getting their all their websites with large fonts and simple menus and so on. Imagine never having to worry about malware or backups because everything is mediated and in the cloud. Imagine fast loading services because everything is cached and customized.

Internet was always destined to disrupt ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. And while it has caused its fair share of disruption, things have remained, shall we say, non stormy.

For stormy disruption, we need fluidity. Three layer structures provide just that.

And there is no need to fear the resulting disruption because all such disruption eventually leads to a more equitable configuration for all concerned.

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