I spent a significant bit of my teenage life on the internet. I trafficked pirated content that was sold downstream by pirated DVD vendors, otherwise known as warez couriering. I hacked US military servers and used them to host botnets that I managed. The internet that I grew up with was a wild wild west. In my "second life" on the internet, I made friends on the IRC. I gossiped on MSN. If we are lucky, the thumbnails on porn sites were gifs. When I was online, I was home. Everything cool I got to know about the world, I learned a lot of it through the internet.
On the internet, I felt like I can do anything. I have control. This is why I am so upset that the internet today isn't what it was anymore.
The mobile-first world is a jail
The mobile-first world is a jail developed by two companies. And this jail is super accessible to your government or big corporations. The chances are that if you try anything daring, it will be removed.
Just look at HKmap.live, a crowdsourced mapping app used by Hong Kong residents to avoid police congregations.
Our browser is a jail
Today, Chrome has 67.11% market share. Google owns Chrome. The next major version of Chrome will make AdBlock extensions useless. Chrome on Android does not even have extensions.
The next major browser, Firefox, has 9.2% market share. Essentially, Chrome owns the desktop browser ecosystem. Chrome extensions give us, the user, power on the internet. To block ads, to tweak websites, to download YouTube videos.
With Google owning Chrome and the chrome extension webstore, Google decides if you can, or cannot disrupt the internet it owns.
From choice to the fallacy of choice
The internet of my era had something for everybody. The internet of today offers a different kind of choice. Their way or the highway. As an internet fanboy, I want to try to seize some power back for the user. This is what I am trying to do in our next product experiment.