Web 3.0 – Advent of the mobile video revolution


In 2004, O’Reilly Media coined the phrase ‘Web 2.0’ to describe what is ostensibly a second generation of Internet-based services – such as social networking sites – that foster online collaboration and sharing.

Free video sharing Web sites – such as YouTube – are an important channel for such social networking and online collaboration.

In a previous column, I discussed how three factors – pervasive public need, innovative technologies and a brilliant business model – have contributed to the dramatic and ongoing success of video on the Web.

In this piece, I take that conversation further and include a prediction.

There’s every reason to believe that the same three factors will drive what is likely to be the most significant online phenomenon of 2007: the advent of Web 3.0 — a third generation of Web-based services, where mobile devices are the platform for collaboration and networking among users.

And one vital aspect of Web 3.0 will be the transmission and sharing of video via portable devices.

But first a reality check.

Mobile video – obstacles to adoption

The technology that enables you to wirelessly download video over the Internet on to mobile devices has been available for some time.

However, take up has been poor because of a range of issues, notably: limited bandwidth, quality of service problems, and limited hardware capabilities.

In fact, leaving aside online video for the moment, the encoding of any video to a format readable by portable devices – such as smart phones, PDAs and Windows Pocket PCs – is often riddled with problems.

Many of these can be attributed to buggy programs for processing, analyzing and encoding of video content for mobile appliances.

I’ve had quite a few exasperating experiences myself when trying to use some of these applications.

One of these is Palm Media Studio offered by Makayama Interactive that develops consumer multimedia software for mobile devices. Makayama, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, promotes Palm Media Studio as the fastest DVD to Palm software on the market.

The company’s Web site proclaims that small screens will become the dominant media delivery platform. This conviction, the company says, is leading it to develop “the tools of the future.”

Well, going by my experience Palm Media Studio isn’t one of these futuristic tools.

“In only 45 minutes, you can put a DVD on your Palm, that’s 400 per cent quicker than other software,” the company’s Web site promises. It tells you the software will enable you to transform not just DVDs, “but also recorded TV and downloaded films” into video that can be watched on your Palm, Treo or Cli