What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Apple, Google and the Strange Death of the Surfable Web

August 3, 2009, 9:41 PM

Surfer at Sunset
The recent skirmish between Apple and Google -- filled with legal inuendos, regulatory scuffles and high-profile departures -- has, if anything, crystallized for me what I had been thinking for the past six months: what we have been witnessing is nothing less than a battle for the future of the surfable Web. On one hand, we have Google, which favors the widest, broadest Web possible, so that its cash cow Google Search functionality remains the key to the discovery of all content on the unruly, unmanageable Web, filled with ripcurls and big waves. On the other hand, we have Apple, which favors a Web that can be managed simply and efficiently from apps downloaded for $1.99 or less from its wildly-popular Apps store. (All apps, in fact, except that pesky little Google Voice app!)

Which leads to the inevitable question: how often do you actually "surf" the Web anymore? Ever since I transitioned from the BlackBerry to the iPhone, I noticed that my "web-surfing" habits had been changing. Quite simply, I was using the Safari browser on the iPhone considerably less than expected, and the nifty little applications from the iPhone Apps store more than I ever thought possible. In fact, as a mobile Internet user, I rarely - if ever - "surf" the Web. I expect the apps to do all the heavy lifting for me. And, what's more, these mobile browsing habits have been spilling over into my laptop & desktop browsing habits. If anything, I've been going to more "destination" websites than ever before and haven't been "surfing" the Web nearly as much in search of interesting, random tidbits anymore. (As a quick test, check out the advertisements for Apple's Apps store and ask yourself: do these apps encourage me to surf the Web, or do they encourage me to head for a specific destination site?)

The conclusion, of course, is that we may be witnessing the Strange Death of the Surfable Web. In an Apple-centric world, the Web can be navigated by a handful of apps. In a Google-centric world (which we've had for the past 10 or so years), the Web can be navigated only by the biggest, baddest search engine around -- hence all the unsuccessful attempts by would-be Google-killers to slay the mighty Goliath.

Not that there's anything wrong with an Application-centric view of the Web. It does make one's life easier to manage -- but what impact is it having on our next generation of Web surfers?

[image: Another Sunset Surfer by Blyzz on Flickr]


Apple, Google and the Stran...

Newsletter: Share: