Apple and a Mutant of Web it Creates
After the Web became alive, however, it is a much more complicated creature than a hierarchical category. Like the real world from which it is imaged, very quickly the virtual world is tangled. It is hopeless to untangle the mess from bottom-up or from top-down within short time of period. In order to facilitate the usage of the Web at this stage we need to borrow ideas from the eastern philosophies. At last, however, we still need the methodology in the western philosophy to finally solve the mess and invent the real science of the Web.
The Web invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee was conducted by a classic western style of thinking. The Web was composed of many nodes where each node represents a molecular object. Then there are hyperlinks connecting these nodes arbitrarily. In general every node of the Web has a name (typically a page title) while the hyperlinks are anonymous. This distinction is both essential and crucial. With name a thing declares its tangible intent and identity. Without a name, on the contrary, the intent of a thing is intangible. Therefore, by this design the Web is a world of objects/data and their categorization—the typical western style thinking. The initial Yahoo search was based exactly on this thinking in order to disclose the complete hierarchical structure of the Web, and in the first few years of the Web age the attempt succeeded more or less.
The fallen of Yahoo search and the rise of Google search was a remarkable event in the history of Web evolution. Besides all the other meanings, it tells that the Web had evolved by itself and broken the initial foundation upon the western style of thinking. Google’s success showed that it was links instead of categories of the pages that mattered more when sorting the Web. The ones without name were more essential than the ones with name when we explored the topological structure of the Web. If only we think of this discovery once more, isn’t the message itself shocking enough?
Then there was Apple.
Unlike Google who sorts and organizes the Web, Apple simply wants to use the Web. Unfortunately, like many other Web-based companies in the beginning Apple might have found that the Web was not very friendly for being consumed. Information on the Web is highly tangled and the traditional thinking of knowledge categorization is too slow to untangle the mess.
Apple conducted a web of methods. Apple created a space so that people could implement their methods of consuming the Web and publish them. In contrast to selling information, Apple sells information-consuming methods. After buying an App, the users can decide how to use the method and which resources to be consumed. Through the AppStore, Apple creates a mutant of the Web in which the Apps (methods) are the main threads where objects are context.
Apple’s methodology brings the company tremendous success in business. Have Apple added more regulation to the Web? Hardly any. Unlike the Semantic Web project, Apple’s approach does little help for the Web to become a better organized place. But like what ancient Chinese did, through this methodology Apple gives the layman users the greatest freedom of utilizing their knowledge. In the ancient Greek society, knowledge was only on the hand of the intellects because it was studied in such an academic way. Comparatively people without much knowledge could learn a method and then applied it in their own life through their own human creativity by nature in the ancient Chinese society. It was an important reason that ancient China grew faster than the civilization in the western society. Now Apple cloned the similar methodology in its business.