The way people use the World Wide Web has changed, even for the folks who work at the World Wide Web Consortium.
The W3C is holding its annual meeting this week in Santa Clara, with its advisory committee working to set the group’s strategic direction. Privacy, security and identity are on the group’s agenda, said the W3C’s director of communications Ian Jacobs.
A new Tracking Protection Working Group is working to ensure end-user privacy by collaborating with browser vendors, regulators and other stakeholders to meet regulatory requirements regarding the issues. Jacobs said the group has an aggressive timeline, working to finish in the next nine months. (It already has a first draft of a “do not track” specification.)
“As the Web expands into more areas and devices, there is a lot of API work going on,” he said. “[We are] basically getting a request a week for an API.”
The W3C also recently held its third workshop on the convergence of the Web and television. “We want content producers to talk about their requirements [for what they need from the Web],” Jacobs said. “This is an industry looking at the Web as a platform for interoperability. It is rooted in HTML5, but there are hundreds of specifications around it to create a highly interoperable platform that will work on any device.”
Jacobs cited Hulu, YouTube and other websites as examples of entities disseminating rich media content through the Web, and that are forcing people to ponder such things as creating standards for a television viewer watching TV at breakfast and switching seamlessly over to a tablet computer as he or she leaves for work, or for people using their cell phones as a remote, or to place an order over the Web while watching TV.
The Web has changed in other ways as well. For those working in online communities, that means quick group startups, intellectual property ownership, continuation of the community even after a project is completed (so long as the community is healthy), and letting non-members with good ideas come to the table.
“The world has changed,” said Jacobs. “There are new players with different expectations about how to work. Facebook is now a W3C member. It’s how people expect to collaborate and get work done.”