One of the internet’s greatest accomplishments is surely its ability to shrink the world in which we live. Whether it’s the ability to bring far flung family members together via video chat (hello sis if you’re reading this); condense earth-shattering world events in realtime using whatever’s replaced Google Reader; or even just using the Wimbledon app to keep tabs on centre court whilst you sample some mixed doubles on the outside courts; we’re more connected to everyone and everything than ever before – very little is beyond the reach of our URL boxes.
Egypt is such a fantastic example of this ‘world shrinking’ in action. Twitter and social media played a pivotal role in the Arab Spring of 2010 and the toppling of Mubarak’s government. Furthermore, it continues to influence the political landscape there even now, enabling protesters to coordinate activities and communicate with the outside world. This week, as the political turmoil continues, it emerged that Twitter will begin offering an auto-translate tool for some of the leading posters in Egypt. This is a country 2,000 miles away from my office in London, with an entirely disparate culture and political system, and I’m able to read Tweets from its foremost political leaders and commentators in real-time, chocolate digestive and cup of coffee in hand.
Exciting new developments such as Google Glass look set to push this concept even further, immersing users in the outside world and creating a new sense of their immediate surroundings. I for one am excited to see how this will shape up... Even if you think Google Glass will fall flat for consumers, it’s still a computer you can wear on your face and I think that’s an exciting prospect indeed.