Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is The Web Dying?

The above chart from Wired Magazine shows a startling trend that backs up editor Chris Anderson's recent assertion that "the web is dying."

As you can see, the current Internet traffic is composed of primarily video, peer-to-peer, web, and slivers of email and FTP. According to the chart, all those had mostly peaked by 2000 and have declined ever since, with only video increasing in traffic.

It's an interesting chart but in reality has no bearing on everyday Internet use by just about everyone. We all use the web so much we don't even think about it, as we do with video and email. Email isn't as big a part of the traffic curve (it was never that big to begin with) because it's a short-burst interaction that now has many competitive alternatives, from social networking to texting. P2P is down because there are a lot more alternatives to easily buy a digital product legally. Newsgroups have fallen to blogs. FTP is down because so much info lives on the cloud already, and you can now email files as large as 10 meg or more.

Video viewing is up first because high-speed DSL is so widespread these days that none of the video quality and speed problems of 2000 happen today. The picture is better (HD quality now), and there's so much more of it available, thanks to YouTube and now, Vevo

But isn't it true that we access video via the web? Shouldn't that mean that web traffic should be up as a result? As always, statistics can be manipulated to show whatever you want, and this one certainly doesn't show the entire picture.

Will the trend in video usage continue? For now it will, but who knows what the next technology trend will be and how that will affect the use of Internet bandwidth. The thing about the Internet is, tomorrow comes quickly.
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Juha said...

I have the feeling this chart may be visually misleading, as it doesn't show you how much Internet usage has increased. It may look like the Peer-to-peer transfers and Web surfing is down, but it's only in comparison to how much Video viewing has increased. I'd love to see some actual numbers instead of percentage.

s.culley said...

I agree that the chart is misleading - IF it is referencing the amount a data being taken up by each group (is it?). Spending 5 minutes reading a static page on the New York Times is going to use far less bandwidth than watching a 5 minute video on youTube. It doesn't mean that people are spending less of their time using the web. For that reason, video is going to look dominant, and ever-increasingly so.

Luke Dsico said...

There was a post on Boing Boing last week or so that discussed just how misleading this graph is. If you look at the change in Data usage then in fact ALL categories are still increasing. Its just the emergence of streaming Video has totally skewed this so that it 'appears' that 'web viewing' has decreased.


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