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It is a best time,it is a worst time.

In the year 2014 people have access to a breadth and depth of information unimaginable in an earlier age.


Everyone contributes in some way.

Everyone
participates to create a living, breathing mediascape. However, the
Press, as you know it, has ceased to exist. The Fourth Estate’s
fortunes have waned. 20th Century news organizations are an
after-thought, a lonely remnant of a not too distant past.

The road to 2014 began in the mid-20th Century.

In
1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist at the CERN particle
physics laboratory in Switzerland, invents the World Wide Web.

1994
sees the founding of Amazon.com. Its young creator dreams of a store
that sells everything. Amazon’s model, which would come to set the
standard for Internet sales, is built on automated personalized
recommendations – a store that can make suggestions.

In 1998,
two Stanford programmers create Google. Their algorithm echoes the
language of Amazon, it treats links as recommendations, and from that
foundation powers the world’s most effective search engine.

In
1999, TiVo transforms television by unshackling it from the constraints
of time – and commercials. Almost no one who tries it ever goes back.

That year, a dot-com start-up named Pyra Labs unveils Blogger, a personal publishing tool.

Friendster
launches in 2002 and hundreds of thousands of young people rush to
populate it with an incredibly detailed map of their lives, their
interests and their social networks. Also in 2002, Google launches
GoogleNews, a news portal. News organizations cry foul. GoogleNews is
edited entirely by computers.

In 2003, Google buys Blogger. Google’s plans are a mystery, but their interest in Blogger is not unreasonable.

2003 is the Year of the Blog.

2004 would be remembered as the year that everything began.

Reason
Magazine sends subscribers an issue with a satellite photo of their
houses on the cover and information custom-tailored to each subscriber
inside.

Sony and Philips unveil the world’s first mass-produced electronic paper.

Google unveils GMail, with a gigabyte of free space for every user.

Microsoft unveils Newsbot, a social news filter.

Amazon unveils A9, a search engine built on Google’s technology that also incorporates Amazon’s trademark recommendations.

And then, Google goes public.

Awash in new capital, the company makes a major acquisition. Google buys TiVo.

2005 – In response to Google’s recent moves, Microsoft buys Friendster.

2006
– Google combines all of its services – TiVo, Blogger, GMail,
GoogleNews and all of its searches into the Google Grid, a universal
platform that provides a functionally limitless amount of storage space
and bandwidth to store and share media of all kinds. Always online,
accessible from anywhere. Each user selects her own level of privacy.
She can store her content securely on the Google Grid, or publish it
for all to see. It has never been easier for anyone, everyone to create
as well as consume media.

2007 – Microsoft responds to Google’s
mounting challenge with Newsbotster, a social news network and
participatory journalism platform. Newsbotster ranks and sorts news,
based on what each user’s friends and colleagues are reading and
viewing and it allows everyone to comment on what they see.

Sony’s ePaper is cheaper than real paper this year. It’s the medium of choice for Newsbotster.

2008
sees the alliance that will challenge Microsoft’s ambitions. Google and
Amazon join forces to form Googlezon. Google supplies the Google Grid
and unparalled search technology. Amazon supplies the social
recommendation engine and its huge commercial infrastructure. Together,
they use their detailed knowledge of every user’s social network,
demographics, consumption habits and interests to provide total
customization of content – and advertising.

The News Wars of 2010 are notable for the fact that no actual news organizations take part.

Googlezon
finally checkmates Microsoft with features the software giant cannot
match. Using a new algorithm, Googlezon’s computers construct news
stories dynamically, stripping sentences and facts from all content
sources and recombining them. The computer writes a news story for
every user.

In 2011, the slumbering Fourth Estate awakes to
make its first and final stand. The New York Times Company sues
Googlezon, claiming that the company’s fact-stripping robots are a
violation of copyright law. The case goes all the way to the Supreme
Court, which on August 4, 2011 decides in favour of Googlezon.

On Sunday, March 9 2014, Googlezon unleashes EPIC.

Welcome to our world.

The
‘Evolving Personalized Information Construct’ is the system by which
our sprawling, chaotic mediascape is filtered, ordered and delivered.
Everyone contributes now – from blog entries, to phone-cam images, to
video reports, to full investigations. Many people get paid too – a
tiny cut of Googlezon’s immense advertising revenue, proportional to
the popularity of their contributions.

EPIC produces a custom
contents package for each user, using his choices, his consumption
habits, his interests, his demographics, his social network – to shape
the product.

A new generation of freelance editors has sprung
up, people who sell their ability to connect, filter and prioritize the
contents of EPIC.

We all subscribe to many Editors; EPIC allows
us to mix and match their choices however we like. At its best, edited
for the savviest readers, EPIC is a summary of the world – deeper,
broader and more nuanced than anything ever available before.


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