GoInstant and The Dawn of the Completely Shared Web: Manifesto from TC Disrupt Finalist and Digital Sky Funding Recipient

October 30, 2011 - by alexsalkever

GoInstant has been acquired by Salesforce and no longer exists as a separate company. This post is retained for posterity.

(Note: This is a guest post on Joyeur by Jevon MacDonald, co-founder of GoInstant, a co-browsing solution. He and his team have built an amazing product that enables full two-way sharing and use in real-time of any Web page between any to Internet enabled devices on any browsers with zero noticeable latency and no downloads or config changes required. GoInstant runs on the Joyent Cloud and is built with Node.js, Socket.io, and Redis. Investors including Greylock Partners and Digital Sky Technologies. BTW, we are using their product in private beta. It rocks.)
In the next iteration of the Internet, people will instantly and easily share web experiences - the exact same experiences - at the same time. It’s already happening.
The web is always evolving. As the underlying technology of the web has advanced, we have been able to use the Internet in more creative and interesting ways. We have gone from documents filled with static content to a web of applications, each providing different types of experiences, data and information. We have gone from static shopping cart structures to useful collaborative filtering shopping suggestions to social shopping. We have gone from downloading movies and videos to sharing movies and videos with friends. In the past year or two, we have entered a new and incredibly exciting phase of the web - The Shared Web.A few years ago, the idea of a 100% shared Internet seemed impossible. The connections were too sluggish and unreliable - in particular on the mobile side. The Web application frameworks did not do very well with situations where extremely low latency was required to keep users happy. But new technology and changes to the core of the Internet are making a lightning fast Shared Web possible.
  • WebSockets enable two-way communication between the client and the server over a single TCP connection.
  • In-memory data stores allow applications to access and store their data quickly, avoiding the overhead of reading and writing to disk.
  • Evented web servers call handle and respond to client's requests without blocking i/o.
At GoInstant we chose node.js, redis, and socket.io hosted on the Joyent Cloud infrastructure to achieve a real-time architecture that would not have been possible a few years ago. The "Shared Web" creates all kinds of opportunities for collaboration. It changes how we experience the web. And like previous evolutions in the web, being able to share web experiences will enhance all aspects of the web, improving how we consume content, shop, broadcast and socialize. The Evolution of the Shared Web
The web started primarily as an information medium, providing us with nearly instantaneous access to huge volumes of knowledge. That resulted in incredible innovation around search and content discovery to help us better access, curate and sift through that knowledge. In the end important sites like Google and Wikipedia were created.Next came e-commerce, pioneered by Amazon.com, eBay, PayPal and others. Over time it became more and more normal to transact online and eCommerce became a part of how we understand the web. Along with it came radical changes in how we perceive shopping. Remember when people laughed at the idea of buying shoes online? Or a car on eBay?Broadcasting has also become another important layer of the web. Services like YouTube and Twitter emerged and quickly became popular. This further democratized publishing. Building off the base of blogging and self-publishing of text, these new services made it possible and actually simple for anyone to gain distribution, become a creator, share their opinion and communicate online in any form of content from music to video to games. The Social Web: Noisy and Better But Still Lonely
After the Broadcast Web, the next wave was the "Social Web". Still in its infancy in many ways, the Social Web has forever changed how we socialize and interact. Facebook is a child (and behemoth!) of the social web. We all live in the social web, connecting and sharing our experiences, feelings, our comings and goings, our likes and dislikes, as never before. Social in this case, however, doesn’t mean together.  While we embrace this greater level of connectivity, the Social Web can deliver a somewhat lonely and oddly impersonal - some might even say staged - experiences. Clearly each evolution in the web enhances what came before, permeating all aspects of how we experience the medium (and its various sub-mediums). Each evolution leads towards more real-time person-to-person communication, from passively consuming content in the Information Web to communicating daily through the Social Web.

So What’s the Next Evolution?

We believe it's the Shared Web. The Shared Web is a place where people are able to instantly and easily share web experiences; not only to communicate in real-time, but share the exact same experiences at the same time. And we’re now seeing more and more examples of the Shared Web emerge at the application level.Turntable.fm allows people to get together in virtual rooms and listen to music. You know who else is there with you and there is a sense of shared experience. Facebook has integrated real-time comment and wall updates giving you a sense of people’s present on the site with you. Google+ and Google Hangouts are providing a foundation for sharing web experiences. People can now watch the same YouTube videos together. Chill enables group video watching as well. Humans want do to more than communicate, they want to share experiences together, and they want to do it on the web.This is what we obsess about at GoInstant - making the "Shared Web" a reality and part of how we all experience the web. As more applications like Turntable evolve, we believe that people will share all of their web experiences. And that is why we are creating a completely shared Web experience platform that enables multiple parties to participate in an activity on any website, anywhere, anytime in any form of communication or creative medium.

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