Werbach critiques the accepted wisdom that sorting out the digital copyright mess is a prerequisite to widespread broadband adoption. According to Werbach, it’s a mistake to think that video-on-demand will be broadband’s killer app:
“Real killer apps tend to surprise people. No one in the early 1990s thought that interoperable email would be the driver of the Internet boom. And who would have predicted that the most successful of the countless Internet startups was the one that made it easy for people to swap Pez dispensers? eBay looks obvious only in hindsight.”
Rashly ignoring Kevin’s warning, I hereby present my nomination for broadband’s true killer app. The app I’m proposing is fast and low-band — you certainly don’t need broadband to use it. But when you’ve got a DSL or cable modem connection, you don’t need to wait for modem dialups any more. Leave your computer on, and the Internet is as instantly and easily accessible as a dictionary sitting on the dining room table. And what do people turn to first when they want to look up something online? Google.