A Look Ahead: the Internet in 2010

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Casey Stengel, baseball hall of famer, once said, “Never make predictions, especially about the future.” He was probably right, and I may regret this blog post in a year or so. With that in mind, here’s the five Internet-related topics that I think are going to be very important in 2010:

1. Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). At the ICANN meeting in Seoul in October 2009, ICANN announced one of the most significant changes to the Internet in its 40 year history. I blogged about it when it happened, and since then it has gone on to pretty much dominate domain name news. Since November 2009, nations and territories have been able to apply for IDN ccTLDs. If all goes according to plan, these IDNs will be operational by mid-2010. Since non-Latin alphabet scripts are used by something like 800 million Internet users, it’s pretty safe to assume IDNs will be a popular item in 2010.

2. How the rise of social media is changing the way people use the Internet. When CIRA began 10 years ago, we used the Internet to get information from websites and send emails. Fast forward to 2009. The rise in social networking sites means fewer people are using email, and we’re using the Internet to share and interact with each other.

Social media is still new and we’re just trying to find our way around it – think about the current debates about privacy – but it’s already changed the way many of us do business and even how some kids are learning. In short, we’re witnessing a change in the way people actually use the Internet.

3. Internet governance, including the new arrangement between ICANN and the U.S. Government. Following the ICANN meeting in Seoul, South Korea at the end of October 2009, I blogged about the fact that the U.S. government now has an indefinite contract as the top watchdog for the overall ICANN process. Following that meeting, hardly a mention was made of it in the media. I know we haven’t heard the last of this issue; it may likely take on a life of its own in 2010.

4. The emergence of mobile as the next big thing for accessing the Internet. There are more than 450 million mobile Internet users worldwide and that number is increasing. The meteoric rise in popularity of some social media sites like Twitter are in part driving the rise in use of mobile devices (or is it the other way around?), making this a topic that we are going to hear a lot about in 2010.

5. Streaming media. The fact that so many Internet users now have broadband access and that video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo have so much content has people, especially Canadians, moving away from their TVs to their computers to watch videos. This rise in the use of video on the Internet continues to drive demand for bandwidth. I think we’re going to start talking about this a lot in 2010.

What do you think the top stories of 2010 will be?

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  • Melany Gallant

    It will be interesting to see how social commerce shapes up in relation to the changing way people are using the Internet. Will more businesses look for opportunities to not just reach and engage consumers through social media, but also provide opportunities to make purchases directly form a social site. Brian Walker at Forrester wrote a recent post about this: http://bit.ly/8lCNFs

  • bshell

    You know Melany, and everyone else: life is much more than “making purchases”. I’ve always felt that the Internet, and the Web in particular were designed to be *antidotes* to commercial interests. I’d like to see CIRA take a role in promoting such things as social networks, and P2P file sharing which are currently (and were initially introduced as) *non-commercial* vehicles for human sharing and communication. People don’t naturally want to buy things all the time. What they want to do is form communities where they can share ideas, stories, interests and feelings. Money is not that important. CIRA needs to recognize this fact, and celebrate it.

  • http://www.netgen.ca Chris Beaudoin

    Get article Bryon, you are very well informed. The first part sounds like good news for your business, as well as ares. I enjoyed reading this blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406629435 Ibnu

    Firefox has special pcotertion in place that is supposed to show the IDN except when it detects it’s a phishing attempt. I don’t know how it works exactly or why it failed to display the IDN in your example.Safari pcotertion against phishing involves blocking certain Unicode tables, most importantly Cyrillic. If the IDN has these characters, the whole IDN will be displayed decoded.Internet Explorer supports the IDNs if I remember correctly, and Chrome (at least the nightly) always displays them decoded.One more thing to test: auto-linking scripts, especially on Twitter.com and Twitter clients. These scripts are going to be the first that break horribly when people start pasting these URLs around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406652030 Arlene

    news. Now the challenge is for even Microsoft, Mozilla Firefox, Safari to make their broewsr compatible with NON-Latin characters domain names.More fun for testers to test for NON-Latin character domain names.Thanks,Santhosh Shivanand Tuppad