Hello and welcome friends of the Wider Web!
The ongoing crash of many cryptocurrencies and the unfolding drama around Twitter’s acquisition has made it a bit difficult to cut through the smoke and panic in order to find the people quietly working on the Wider Web and Agreement Bedrock but rest assured they’re still there. In Google’s rehydrated AR hardware team, in the W3C’s strategic leadership group, in the Parisian HQ of Lynx, and across the world there are people advocating and building on the concepts of the open Web, accessibility for all, and social norms about privacy. These people (and maybe that includes you!) gladden my heart in an otherwise dim period of history.
Sharpen your quill, strain the chunks from your ink well, and pick a parchment from the dryer because it’s time for another issue of the Transmutable News Weekly!
Opportunities for support
Google revealed a first look at how they want to frame “AR Glasses” in the near term. Details are light but it would appear that they’re focused on bringing their existing services like real-time language translation into heads up displays more than they are working on environment sensing and registration of information on the physical world. While this type of hardware doesn’t take advantage of everything that WebXR has to offer, it does offer opportunities to access existing flat sites via a new category of hands-free wearable.
Stan Larroque, CEO of headset manufacturer Lynx, took to YouTube Live to discuss, among other topics, his reaction to Meta’s Cambria demonstration video. He was underwhelmed by Meta’s hand tracking with pass through video. Later in the Q&A section he reiterated that their headsets will ship with the Wolvic immersive browser and added that the Wider Web has become an important part of the value proposition that they give customers and investors.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published their strategic highlights overview which includes their many workshops, working groups, in-progress standards, and outreach programs. For the Wider Web and Agreement Bedrock there are overviews of categories like web payments, media (including WebXR), privacy, and accessibility, a largely unaddressed hurdle for adoption of XR. If you know of people losing their way in the current cryptocurrency crash then this might be a good way to show them that there’s plenty of interesting (and well paid) work to do on the open web.
Pseudonymous writer Polynya wrote about the financial and technical (though not ecological) sustainability of blockchains in the newly important long term. Perhaps a couple of years of limited blockchain hype and investment will refocus teams on fixing the essential flaws in their current technologies and cultures? The future of the Agreement Bedrock may depend on it.
p.s. I run a Mastodon instance, WiderWeb.org, for people of the web and/or XR persuasion. If that’s you and you’d like to dip your toes into the fediverse then I’d be happy to host you. Our local timeline is, IMHO, more interesting than what you’ll find on the global social media sites and it would be even better with you there.
Stay open, friends.