Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Would Opera's new move take browsers and eventually WWW to a new level?

I have long been big believer of peer to peer type of network model than client-server or cloud based model. Reason I think so is that unlike before there is not much difference between client and server. Client i.e. you personal computer today has sufficient CPU and memory capacity to act like a server. Also with advances in communication technology we get high speed broadband right at our doorstep. The difference between client and server is narrowed down a lot as compared to what it was two decades back. Same machine acts as server at some places and is used at client at some places. Thus every machine is essentially a peer to others.

Most of the current and new web 2.0, is still working on a client server model and now a new buzzword called cloud model. Do we really need some centrally located servers or cloud of servers for our basic needs of networking, when same can be done right from our desktops or now even from mobile and other hand held devices. All we need is that these machines should be uniquely identifiable or have an IP address. We then can run a server right where we are and then these servers do the job of connect to other such clients and in a way build a peer to peer network. Skype is a good example of same and torrent based file sharing another. They all run on this peer to peer logic and are fairly popular.

Next step is to make general www peer to peer. I think first step here is taken by Opera. They have come up with a concept called opera unite. What opera has done is that it has placed web server at every client. This way everyone runs their own host device, with their own applications running on their own hardware, which can then be accessed from anywhere using any web browser. All this is to be rolled into their web browser. Opera is also providing extensive documentation to developers to create their own 'unite' applications and make it available www wide. Only drawback is that all peer to peer connection would be routed through the unite proxy. I think with time this limitation would be circumvented and internet would really be peer to peer they way it was originally envisioned.

Would other browsers particularly Mozilla's firefox join the bandwagon. If they do so then there would really be a need to standardize a p2p protocol to enable cross browser communication. Is this next step towards web 3.0 or semantic web, I don't know, but sure something to look forward.

Some of the web transactions still need to be client server, however much of the social networking which we do today can easily be done peer to peer (after all this is what social networking is about - peer to peer interaction). Would this change or endanger the current social networking platforms, I don't know, users would decide that.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken!


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