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Ram Shriram on ‘Evolution of Internet and Where We Are Headed’

As internet evolves, the desktop-based applications will gradually move towards online and mobile phones will increasingly be used as a medium to access the Net, according to Ram Shriram, one of the foremost thought leaders and investors in the internet space.



As internet evolves, the desktop-based applications will gradually move towards online and mobile phones will increasingly be used as a medium to access the Net, according to Ram Shriram, one of the foremost thought leaders and investors in the internet space.




“We are entering in an age when software is going to be a service,” Ram Shriram, one of the early investors and a founding board member of Google, said, adding, “That is the opportunity for us to reinvent application services that provide instant gratification to the users.” Shriram was speaking at an event organised by TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Delhi on 14th March 2008 in the city to launch TiE Internet Special Interest Group.


While talking about the objective of launching TiE Internet SIG, Mahendra Swarup, chairman, Internet SIG, said, “The objective of launching Internet SIG is to inspire the next generation of internet entrepreneurs.” According to him, lots of money has been invested in the internet space but there has not been enough encouragement for the internet entrepreneurs. Hopefully, TiE Internet SIG should fill this gap.


Before starting his talk on ‘Evolution of Internet and Where We Are Headed’ Ram Shriram asked the audience, “How many of you use (Microsoft) Office applications?” Not surprisingly, most of the people raised their hands. On this, Shriram observed, “In two years, I would see how many of you raise your hands!”



Obviously, Ram Shriram was betting big on his prediction that in time to come almost all the services that are currently being accessed through desktop applications would be freely available online.



“I find myself using less and less desktop application,” Ram Shriram said. According to him, tomorrow’s consumers will be Googling for knowledge and learning the internet will be their text book. The next generation will be 100 per cent online and the growth of websites will continue to proliferate, he said.



While discussing the evolution of internet, Shriram said internet has witnessed a slow start, fast evolution and rapid growth. According to him, the worldwide internet population currently stands at around 1 billion out of which around 555 million people have been online since 2000.


Ram Shriram also talked about three revolutions — technology revolution, consumer revolution and advertising revolution — and one evolution (Google’s evolution) in the internet space. While mentioning the evolution of Google from a search engine to a company offering a bouquet of online services including Picasa, Gmail, GTalk, Urchin, Dodgeball, SketchUp, Writely and Froogle, he said, “Just as Microsoft was earlier on the PC side, on internet side it’s Google.”



There was also a message for internet entrepreneurs. “On internet you are always living very dangerously as your competitor is just a click away. It’s a high touch and high tech medium,” Ram Shriram, founder of Sherpalo, one of the most respected venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, said.



When asked about his views on Web 3.0, he said, “If there is Web 3.0 that would be mobile.” According to him, the Web 3.0 on mobile could offer anytime anywhere payment technology and act as an information bus, sharing bus and a (financial) bank on the move. “The Cell phone is going to become the computer,” Shriram said.


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