The hypergrid is not the next Web

I am a big fan of the hypergrid. I love logging into my personal grid. Then teleporting to my company grid, or visit friends on OSGrid, or go shopping on GermanGrid.

But I don’t have any illusion that the hypergrid will replace the Internet.

Instead, I believe that the hypergrid will become something very different — and possibly even more important.

The Internet has changed the way we share information. I no longer use my telephone books, and have thrown out my street atlases. I read books on my iPhone. I haven’t had a newspaper subscription in years and recently canceled my cable television in favor of Hulu and Netflix.

The Internet is a fantastic way to present a great deal of information, to search for answers, and to share ideas. And each year, the Internet is getting better at this — faster, smarter, more all-encompassing.

The hypergrid, by comparison, is lousy at managing information. In fact, often the best way to share information on a grid is to put up a window to a Website.

The hypergrid is difficult to navigate. It’s hard to find places. Once you find the right place, it’s hard to get around once you’re there. Navigation and search is bound to improve to some degree but, at the end of the day, you’re still better off searching a directory to find the store you want than, say, wandering around a virtual representation of a mall until you see it.

A Paris street on FrancoGrid. Over time, such destinations will become increasingly realistic.

Virtualized presence

The Internet virtualized information. Books, music, movies, magazines, newspapers, and bulletin boards were transformed — information was separated out from its paper, vinyl or corkboard containers.

The hypergrid does something similar — but not with information.

Instead, the hypergrid virtualizes our physical presence. Our interactions with places, with things, even with our own bodies are separated away from their actual physical manifestations. I can visit a virtual Eiffel Tower and get the sense of being there, the sense of meeting other people there, without having to travel to Paris. And I can appear any way I wish — younger or older, fatter or thinner, as an animal or as a robot.

We have no way of predicting what societal changes will result from this transformation.

The Internet transformed all information industries. It transformed commerce. It transformed dating. It has almost completely replaced all other means of communication — we email, Tweet, Facebook, and Skype our friends and colleagues.

Now, with smart phones and tablets, the Internet is transforming the way we think. With the knowledge of the entire world at our fingertips, anything we want to know is immediately accessible.

This transformation is still ongoing.

The hypergrid has the potential to transform human relationships, by compressing distance. And it has the potential to transform experience, allowing everyone to experience things that had previously been available to the very rich, very brave, or very lucky.

As technology improves, as virtual environments get increasingly realistic and our experience of those environments progressively more immersive, our world will change in ways we can’t even imagine.

I still believe we’ll continue to use the World Wide Web, in some form, in order to find information, download media, and get and send messages.

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

6 Responses

  1.' Bristle says:

    i know one thing – i was wrong with a single view of 3D spaces in the year 2000. now i see it as more multiple views that are iconic and you can pick out the world you want (or region). opencroquet did that by having windows in your 3D space where you could go "in to" and that become your new window.

    i know some hard-cores vworlds people dont like the multiple views. but the world has change and now people can be in more than one place at the same time. with hypergrids, you can have several views and you can choose which one you want to go to and still keep the icons in place.

    • Yes it is nice to be able to jump from one world to another. But and a big but. Hypergrid travel has a few problems and really it depends on an individual basis…. If someone goes from 1 world to the other and if that world offers a currenc; how is the traveler avatar going to buy anything in that world? He or she will be limited to FREEBIES only. Therefore this really attracts COPY BOT offenders. I do know that if the land is set not to let anyone build that in fact copy bot will not work. But alot of people do not close their lands and then this becomes a problem for the grid.

      So in an UTOPIA kind of world where theres no bad and evil; Hypergrid Travel is ok but I really think it has very bad side effects to the grids that offer it and to the individuals that travel to different worlds …. All they will be able to do is to look around really. Cant open up shops, cant build residency, cant use the currency and make money doing it….and lots more…
      I am still thinking about it. I have not shut the doors completely. AvWorlds is currently not offering Hypergrid Travels because the creators do not accept it and really the biggest problem I see is that if someone uses COPY BOT and then goes away to another world; how is AvWorlds Administration going to stop that and ban that person? That offender has no account with us making it even more difficult to handle the problem.
      I leave this subject open for discussion now…Thanks!

      • Copybot and hypergrid are two different things. You can have all the same copybot problems even if you have hypergrid turned off — the hackers just have to create an account on your grid.

        When it comes to law-abiding citizens, hypergrid has all the same permissions as regular teleports, plus each grid owner has the ability to set the grid’s hypergrid status so that no content can leave the grid. Visitors can come and attend events, or window-shop, but if they want to buy stuff they’ll have to create an account on the grid – which could be a nice way to promote grid membership to outsiders.Meanwhile, there are two ways to do cross-grid shopping: OMC currency (which is hypergrid enabled) and PayPal. Obviously, content permissions have to be set to allow travellers to take this content home with them. Personally, I’m looking forward to more fine-grained hypergrid permissions controls. One option is to have a fourth permission setting — exportable — which, if checked, will allow users to download the content for backup or to take it to other grids. Viewers will have to be modified, however, so that folks can use this easily. Another option is to say that only full-perm items are exportable and can travel the hypergrid. All a creator has to do to keep content from leaving a grid is to set content to either no copy, no transfer, or no modify (or a combination). 

  2.' Troy McConaghy says:

    The thing you're calling the "Internet" is techically the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web has been around since 1989, but the Internet dates back to the 1960s (ARPANET).

    Both the World Wide Web and the Hypergrid use the Internet, and they will continue to do so for the forseeable future.

  3. Troy — You're absolutely right. The Internet is the underlying communication network for everything from the Web to email to instant messaging to FTP file transfers to peer-to-peer networks — and the hypergrid runs on top of it as well.

  4. Tell me what are the positives and the negatives of Hypergrid Travel. I want to weight this and give it a real thought.