Re-inventing the wheel

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I’m all for speeding things up. My folks are still living in dial-up land in Co. Clare and my own thesis for my degree was on “The Future of the Web,” most of which focused on the improvement of technologies to accommodate faster processing and more transparency of function to the user (using AJAX for example). New JavaScript libraries like jQuery have added to this further, but I have to admit that one I didn’t see coming was Google’s latest attempt to re-invent the web. In retrospect (that perfect science) it’s probably something one could have predicted but more so in the past year than three years ago, when I was writing my thesis.

The interesting thing about the blog post is Google’s “outreach” to the wider developer community at large. They’re working on creating a new protocol to more or less replace the ‘HTTP’ from 1996. I’m a bit unsure as to the implications of this in the future (will we eventually be dropping the http:// from our web addresses in our browsers?) but it seems that Google is all about making this experience faster through their research project called ‘SPDY’ (pronounced ‘speedy’). To quote from their blog:

We started working on SPDY while exploring ways to optimize the way browsers and servers communicate. Today, web clients and servers speak HTTP. HTTP is an elegantly simple protocol that emerged as a web standard in 1996 after a series of experiments. HTTP has served the web incredibly well. We want to continue building on the web’s tradition of experimentation and optimization, to further support the evolution of websites and browsers. So over the last few months, a few of us here at Google have been experimenting with new ways for web browsers and servers to speak to each other, resulting in a prototype web server and Google Chrome client with SPDY support.

It all sounds very promising. There are those of course that would think that with the imminent release of Google Chrome OS, the beta release of their Chrome browser for Mac and Linux due and Google Android proving a strong contender in the mobile market, that Google are not happy to sit on their laurels and are intent on taking over the computing world. This ‘open-source’ process seems to be a good way of keeping the monopoly watchdogs at bay, but does anyone else get the creepy feeling Google are being allowed too much freedom? Personally, I think a tipping point is on the way. Whether Google pushes over that tipping point and more to the point, gets pulled up for it, remains to be seen.

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