When Apple introduced the iPhone, they rightly assumed that the next generation would be willing to carry their identity in their pocket. In the very near future, companies like Google and Amazon will profit from their assumption that we’re willing to go one step further. In the very near future, users will trust their entire identity to the cloud. Not only this, but they’ll trust a company to tell them information they’d have otherwise had to have researched themselves.
Apple commanded the first 10 years of the smartphone market because they created a sense of belonging with their iPhone. The power of the one, singular device the company sold made users feel like the Apple ecosystem was one they could believe in. But Apple wasn’t and isn’t very good at keeping people connected to their services, outside their App Store for iOS.
Google and Amazon are good at making people feel at home, too. Google has services like Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Search that people take for granted as their primary source of email, mapping, and navigating the internet. Amazon is mind-bogglingly good at selling products – to the point where they’re able to sell products whose primary function is selling more products.
Trust and The Crash
The first two decades of the internet were an age of innocence. It was very easy to believe in and trust whatever was written or pictured on the internet. It seemed at first that the true and pure democratization of all information that was the internet was good.
Then humanity started taking the internet for granted. The respect between anonymous netizens was lost as we seemed to hit some point of critical mass. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, it’s just as likely anything we read is false as it is likely to be true.
As a direct result of the whirlwind mess of lies that’s formed on the internet today, we’ll come to trust companies like Google and Amazon the way we used to trust one another. It’s only through the gateways that are Google and Amazon that we’ll trust any sort of information given to us digitally. It is with Google and Amazon’s forms of filtering good information from bad that we’ll feel safe once again.
In the near future, looking up info using a laptop will feel like it did going to a library to check out a book in the present. The information will still be accessible, but it’ll be far easier to get it by asking your computer. You’ll ask with your voice, and your computer will respond.
We’ll get information through Amazon and Google. We’ll buy products through Amazon and Google. They’ll deliver our products to our doorstep so we won’t need to go to the local brick and mortar shop. We’ll pay for the privilege of getting our products faster than our neighbor. We’ll pay to get information tailored more specifically to our person.
We’ll pay a regular fee for these higher-grade services. Some people will pay for more than one major brand’s personal assistance – kind of like how, right now, some people pay for more than one video streaming service. Some brands have videos the others do not.
It’s already begun
Google and Amazon have plans for their personal assistant technologies that span well into the future. Each step they take further into the abyss, we as consumers take another step to follow. As we become more comfortable with our chosen overlords, they’ll release newer, more personalized technology.
When I say “more personalized,” people of yesteryear will recognize that I’m implying the stripping away of personal privacy. While suggesting they’re keeping your information confidential and safe, companies will make users forget that you’ve already shared your life in ways which would make past generations gasp.
This is the future. Maybe it’ll be good for a while. We’ll see.