How Tech Giants Like Google and Apple Want to Improve the Internet
This week, Google, Apple, Facebook and other major tech companies announced that they had joined forces to launch Web Platform, a repository of knowledge and best practices for web technologies. As with Wikipedia, anyone can contribute, and hundreds of people already have.
Along with volunteers from some of the "steward" companies -- which also include Adobe, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia and Opera -- Web Platform is run by members of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international group focused on creating web standards. The team is headed by Doug Schepers, a W3C developer relations lead.
In an email interview, Schepers discussed how business owners can benefit from this new online resource. What follows is an edited version of that interview:
Entrepreneur: What can you tell us about Web Platform?
Schepers: The aim is to build a community that will help keep it the most up-to-date source of information for web developers and designers, from students to professionals. W3C created this site with our partner organizations, the stewards, because ... a modern web creator needs a comprehensive source of information for learning and for reference.
Entrepreneur: What about the 'steward' companies? How are they contributing?
Schepers: Each of these companies -- and each person involved -- brings something unique to the project. Some are dedicating personnel. Some are providing services, like HP Cloud's web hosting. Almost all are providing financial support for the site.
Most have also provided substantial contributions of content, such as Microsoft's MSDN, Opera's Web Standards Curriculum, Google's HTML5Rocks, Facebook's HTML5 Resource Center, Nokia's mobile guidelines and some of Mozilla's MDN community-authored content. We pre-populated this content on the site to help the community get started and we intend to build on it ourselves.
Entrepreneur: How can entrepreneurs benefit from this resource?
Schepers: The web is already a profoundly entrepreneurial environment, with low barriers to entry and low startup costs. Being a web creator is an especially egalitarian profession -- all you need is a computer, an internet connection and the right frame of mind. For those individuals and their businesses, this will be a direct benefit, because it will allow them to learn and practice their trade much more easily and quickly than before.
This is also a boon to anyone who needs to use the services provided by web creators, because that increased productivity and faster execution means decreased costs [for their services]. It also means that the finished product has a better chance of increased quality and consistency, if the web creators use the best practices that will be featured on the site.
Entrepreneur: How does Web Platform Docs fit into a larger vision for the web?
Schepers: W3C wants an informed, active and participatory web creator community because that leads to a more robust, stable web, and better feedback and contribution on our free, open web standards. It's a matter of perpetuating a culture of self-motivated, inquisitive, responsible creators and builders who help one another, which is what made the web succeed, and which has far-ranging implications for our economy and society.
Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.