Thursday, 18 October 2012

Paris and Web 3.0: a tale of two cities

Cyberspace is an illusion that the web is spread everywhere reducing the importance of real world space.  The concept for cyberspace was that a new kind of space would be created, one that people could enter from anywhere and not be restrained by the limitations of our space.

Map of major Foursquare, Yelp, Wikipedia and Flickr site sin Paris France
Initially it seemed that the Internet would develop like this.  With the spread of broadband it become possible for anyone to access Wikipedia and Google and through them all the information that the world had to offer.  

Paris Texas shows a Foursquare, a few Yelps and one Wikipedia entry.
But it is wrong to conclude that the Internet is thus independent of space.  As anyone who has lived in rural areas can tell you access to the Internet via broadband and 3G is better in more built up areas.  But the degree of information held about a different locations is a function of how built up the area is. For example the Internet has a mass of rich data about Paris France.  Almost every street of Paris France has Foursquare locations providing detailed information and images about the location.  The city of Paris is covered in a network of Wikipedia, and a mass of images in Flickr allow anyone in the world to see many different perspectives of Paris France.  

There simply is not the same about of information about Paris Texas.  The same physical areas is far far less covered by the Internet.  Just as some parts of the world are more built up in other infrastructure and services, the Internet is more richly layered in some places rather than other. 

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