Drupal founder Dries Buytaert predicts that the current incarnation of the web might be too taxing for us. Soon we’ll be moving from a "pull" to a "push" based web.
The current Web is "pull-based," meaning we visit websites or download mobile applications. The future of the Web is "push-based," meaning the Web will be coming to us. In the next 10 years, we will witness a transformation from a pull-based Web to a push-based Web. When this "Big Reverse" is complete, the Web will disappear into the background much like our electricity or water supply.
He argues that products and services will find us, rather than the public going to them. For instance, instead of the user going to a website in search of content, the user will receive a notification directing him or her to relevant information. The web will take a more proactive approach to serving content to its users.
Buytaert uses Facebook and Flipboard as early examples of this trend.
Facebook "pushes" a stream of personalized information designed to tell you what is happening with your friends and family; you no longer have "pull" them and ask how they are doing. Flipboard changes how we consume content by aggregating the best of the web and filtering it based on our interests; it "pushes" the relevant and interesting content to you rather than you having to "pull" the news from multiple sources.
Buytaert also considers smartphone notification systems - like those found in iOS 8 and Android Lollipop - as an example of what the web will come to look like. He highlights the importance of how users can interact with these notifications, and how they can find relevant information without having to open an application. Buytaert's predictions are based around the assumption that people want to "tune into information" rather than find it.
With some imagination, it's not too hard to picture how these kind of experiences could expand to other areas of the web. The way the e-commerce works today is really no different than having to visit a lot of separate physical stores or wading through hundreds of products in a department store. We shouldn't have to work so hard to find what we want. In a push-based world, we would sit back as if we were watching a fashion show -- the clothing presented could come for hundreds of different online brands but the stream is "personalized" to our needs, budget, sizes and style preferences. When the Big Reverse is complete, it will be the end of department stores and malls. Keep an eye on personalized clothing services like Trunk Club or Stitch Fix.
Buytaert thinks that ten years from now we will understand how broken the search-based web is for putting the burden entirely on the user. He goes on to argue that healthcare is also moving in a similar direction with the emergence of wearable technology. This shift will be dramatic and will disrupt not only our understanding of the web, but also the business models that depend on the current "pull" system.