Presentation: A fast web for people

A fast web for people

Using technology to solve real problems

Christian Heilmann, Mozilla, October 2011

I was asked to talk about what we could do if the web were a lot faster than it is today.

We are incredibly excited!

Jumping into puddleMozilla + Ignite US

Let me start by saying that we as Mozilla and me personally are incredibly excited to be part of a group that gets a glimpse of the internet to come.

Where we are now

World Connection Density

Right now the internet is already an incredible thing and makes the world smaller each day. I am speaking to you from my house in London, England and just this morning flew back from NYC. Instead of having to fly to Kansas, and then immediately to London we communicate like this. As clicking my heels doesn't work, this is much easier.

What we got promised

Autobahn - fast motorway

When the internet became available outside of the academia we got the promise of a "information superhighway" where everything is available at the touch of a fingertip and we all have speaking fridges and live translating systems.

What we actually have

Potholes in a road

What we actually have right now is good but there is a lot of circumvention needed. As a web developer that pushes the limits of the media itself you run into quite a few obstacles.

Web development gripes

  • Slow hardware
  • Insufficient technologies
  • Bad connectivity

There are a few things that hold us back as developers. These are mainly bad hardware/software in use, insufficient technologies and bad connectivity

Almost there

  • Slow hardware hardware is becoming a commodity
  • Insufficient technologies HTML5 and friends go leaps and bounds
  • Bad connectivity the fix is right here!

We already do a great job at tackling the first two, the only thing left is to up the ante when it comes to connectivity.

Empowering people

Easy YouTube

I've built a lot of good stuff on the web. Big web sites with millions of users and great apps. But I am most proud about removing a massive obstacle of the web with Easy Youtube. This hack allowed blind users and people with learning disabilities to watch movies online. It was not hard to build but if you watch the video interviews of what it meant to people to be empowered and independent you will see just how powerful it is to get people to reach out with a browser and an operating system without needing to use bespoke software.

Empowering to become developers

Source code

The great thing about web technologies is that they are open and available. You learn from other people's source code and online documentation instead of having to buy expensive books and go on expensive courses. This is what made the web grow so fast and this is what we should keep supporting. It is easy to teach people how to build a simple web site or visit a web product in their browser or on their phone. It is much harder to convince them to download and install a piece of software.

Collaborative development and testing

By now we go even further. Web based systems like GitHub allow you to collaboratively build tools together. Online IDEs like cloud9ide allow for editing files in the cloud and share the results.

What can 1gbit do for interfaces?

Youtube video loading

With a connectivity this high we have a chance to give really data rich interfaces to the web. Right now a lot of what we do as developers is to stop getting our users annoyed when things take too long and in almost every case it is the connectivity that is to blame.

Fast connections make rich new technology richer

With a connectivity this high we have a chance to give really data rich interfaces to the web. Right now a lot of what we do as developers is to stop getting our users annoyed when things take too long and in almost every case it is the connectivity that is to blame.

Video and content interaction

This demo shows how easy it is to sync page content with video in HTML5. Notice that the JavaScript is very simple and by using data- attributes on the HTML I can maintain the syncing without any JS knowledge. There is also a simple library available to do this called Popcorn.

18 days in Egypt

18 days in egypt

Popcorn was used to build and interactive documentary of the revolution in Egypt with people uploading videos from their phones.

Why not make this live?

Youtube video loading

With a connectivity like the one we are discussing here this could be live. Any political speech could be live annotated, any lecture in university could be recorded by students and live stitched together for keeping. Video and audio will become just another dataset to manipulate and change in real time.

Disruptors at the ready…

  • Education collaborative learning and coaching live
  • Education making learning fun as 3D games
  • Health streaming video from homes to the doctor's office
  • Health crowdsourced analysis of data (Folding@Home
  • Finance Live data streams for full disclosure
  • Politics Streaming debates with live commentary from experts
  • Accessibility Live video and audio captioning
  • Understanding live translation and transliteration

We have all the technology at hand right now, with WebGL, Websockets and Canvas we can do almost everything in the browser we can do on the desktop. Our end user's computers could be part of our supercomputer.

We can use all this cool stuff to create super interactive TV for leisure purposes or we can make the world smaller and empower more understanding by making things easier, safer and better for the people on the web.

Time to play!

Dog wants to play