The World Wide Web turned 20 on August 6th.  I just found out today, Sunday September 4th, 2011 while reading an RSS feed of Dante Cesa’s article in Engadget.  I find that both ironic and unsettling at the same time as I am “connected” to the web with twitter, facebook, and just about every google product available.  How did I not know this?

Dante’s article refers to Google’s “The Evolution of the Web” which is an interactive journey into the evolutionary growth of the World Wide Web.  It depicts the interaction between web applications such as HTML and CSS and the browsers that ultimately display content to the end user.  It is a fascinating visual representation of not just the technologies being used to access web content but how people are using this content.  It is a living beast that inhales and exhales as we discover new gadgetry and integrate them into our daily lives.

Another interesting look at the growth of the internet is BBC News’ SuperPower: Visualizing the internet which shows the spread of registered internet users across the globe.  This literally shows people plugging into the internet over a ten year period and to some extent, the flow of capital investment and growth of discretionary income.

The internet is a useful resource that can provide access to information and services that can improve the user’s quality of life.  At the same time the internet has become a web intertwined in our daily lives that we can no longer look at as a separate entity, we have become part of the web.  Our thoughts, our moods, who we like and who we unfollow, where we have to be, when and with whom.  The web knows where you are and what you are doing and shares this information with others whether you checked the box or not.  Cloud technologies will allow users to store information on servers instead of local devices and then access this information from any device anywhere in the world.  At first glance this sounds like a great idea as it would allow multiple users to collaborate and share ideas much more efficiently.  There is an Orwellian feeling to this technology as well and I am drawn to the image of a hungry beast.  A beast that we must feed regardless of our own individual will.  How much control over our lives have we freely given? How much of our daily habits and thoughts are no longer our own but  are captured in a cloud forever?