February 15, 2010

Marshall Kirkpatrick on the Real Time Web Report

Marshall Kirkpatrick. (CC) Randy Stewart, <a href="http://blog.stewtopia.com">blog.stewtopia.com</a>.

Amy Sample WardAnew report from ReadWriteWeb, The Real-Time Web and Its Future, focuses on the changing ecosystem of the Web, one that runs in real-time: “For the following report, we interviewed 50 companies, developers and executives building or leveraging real-time Web technology. We combined that research with insights gained from more than 300 industry leaders that participated in our Real-Time Web Summit in October 2009. The end result is an extensive, authoritative premium report: The Real-Time Web and its Future, edited by ReadWriteWeb lead writer Marshall Kirkpatrick.”

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Marshall to discuss the report and the insights RWW discovered through the process of aggregating and distilling so much information from experts and Web users.

Review the Table of Contents and read the report introduction now, or learn more in the following interview.

First, what does the “real-time Web” really mean?

It means different things to different people, but the most literal meaning is probably this: real-time systems push information from a publisher to a subscriber (be they a human reader or a machine consuming information) as soon as it’s available, without the subscriber having to ask if there’s anything new.

Think of how Facebook notifies you that you have new messages without having to refresh the page, or the way your Instant Messaging client shows you new messages as soon as they are sent. The underlying technologies used in those kinds of circumstances are now being integrated into all kinds of other websites because real-time delivery of information changes the user experience radically and offers all kinds of benefits. It’s smoother for users, users and systems get to take action immediately on new information and it’s much more efficient, meaning that your technology can do more with less computing expense.

When did RWW start focusing on the real-time Web?

Probably middle of 2008. Like people generally do, we thought about the impact that Twitter and Facebook were making on the web. When we looked deeper though, we quickly found out that there is far, far more going on in the real-time web than those two services.

For the report, you interviewed 50 Web experts – what were some of the surprising things you heard?

I was surprised to learn how broad this field is. We talked to people working with public records extraction in real time, with designers building lightweight, real-time presentation sharing tools, Google engineers have some incredible ideas about ways they hope that their PubSubHubbub real-time protocol will be used – stuff like real-world sensor networks and contact info syncing. When I started those interviews, I knew there were broad possibilities but I had no idea how broad. Continue reading