Wired’s cover story for September is quite a big one – Charles Anderson argues that the Web is dead – and this might sound ridiculous. But he does make quite a few very good points. Slowly but surely, we are moving away from a Web only use of the internet, and starting to choose to use the internet in “App form”. Instead of  accessing sites using our PC browser we are preferring to use dedicated applications devoted to a task – which in most cases improves our user experience of these services.
Instead of going through the schlep of logging on to Facebook, we instead choose to use a dumbed down, well designed app on iPhone or Android. We prefer to access Twitter through dedicated apps on our phones than going to the Twitter site. Same can be said of music services, and the recent boom in location based services also drives the point further. The interface is better, its easier to use, and the functionality is focussed.
He goes on further mentioning that the traditional “open is good” mindset is not necessarily the most successful anymore. I am not referring to iPhone vs Android, but instead that people like using closed systems in general, nevermind the ethics or “lock in” problems. Good examples include the iTunes store, but Facebook is a prime example. Its closed nature is perhaps what made people want to use it – the fact that your activities are generally kept away from Google’s crawlers makes the platform seem more welcoming. Of course I realize there is a lot wrong in that sentence – you be the judge:

Enter Facebook. The site began as a free but closed system. It required not just registration but an acceptable email address (from a university, or later, from any school). Google was forbidden to search through its servers. By the time it opened to the general public in 2006, its clublike, ritualistic, highly regulated foundation was already in place. Its very attraction was that it was a closed system. Indeed, Facebook‘s organization of information and relationships became, in a remarkably short period of time, a redoubt from the Web “” a simpler, more habit-forming place.
The company invited developers to create games and applications specifically for use on Facebook, turning the site into a full-fledged platform. And then, at some critical-mass point, not just in terms of registration numbers but of sheer time spent, of habituation and loyalty, Facebook became a parallel world to the Web, an experience that was vastly different and arguably more fulfilling and compelling and that consumed the time previously spent idly drifting from site to site.
Even more to the point, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg possessed a clear vision of empire: one in which the developers who built applications on top of the platform that his company owned and controlled would always be subservient to the platform itself. It was, all of a sudden, not just a radical displacement but also an extraordinary concentration of power. The Web of countless entrepreneurs was being overshadowed by the single entrepreneur-mogul-visionary model, a ruthless paragon of everything the Web was not: rigid standards, high design, centralized control.

I highly recommend you go read it here. It makes you think twice about the way we will use the internet in the future.