I want to drive on the Web, but instead I’m being driven. All of us are. And that’s a problem.
It’s not for lack of trying on the part of websites and services such as search engines. But they don’t make cars. They make stores and utilities that try to be personal, but aren’t, and never can be.
Take, for example, the matter of location. The Internet has no location, and that’s one of its graces. But sites and services want to serve, so many notice what IP address you appear to be arriving from. Then they customize their page for you, based on that location. While that might sound innocent enough, and well-intended, it also fails to know one’s true intentions, which matter far more to each of us than whatever a website guesses about us, especially if the guessing is wrong.
Shopping carts on rails according to a later analogy from Doc. And that’s really sad. I used to compare railways to telcos, their services, their time-table, their price. And the Internet to the personal vehicle. From Doc’s perspective it appears the mass consumer Internet is trending that way.