Wireless earbuds connected to assistants speed up the Anticipatory Web.

Still from the movie Her

Satisfaction from a wireless earbud in the movie Her.

The 2013 movie Her was creepy. The storyline is that a man falls in love with an operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson. He interacts with her in many ways including a wireless earpiece in his ear.

While I don’t think we’ll be falling in love with operating systems anytime soon, I’m certainly noticing a lot more people walking around with ever-present earbuds in their ears. Wireless headsets have been around for ages but Apple is making them ubiquitous by removing headphone jacks from its phones and selling AirPods.

Wireless earbuds will help usher in the era of the Anticipatory Web. It starts with a web interface that isn’t visual. In this cases its auditory. It’s like the Amazon Echo or Google Home but it’s always in your ear.

Voice is one thing, but the bigger shift will be when your personal assistant baked into the wireless earpiece starts anticipating your needs.

It’s 7 pm on a weeknight.

“I see that you are walking in downtown Austin. Would you like to find available restaurant reservations?”

It’s the week before Mother’s Day.

“Did you remember to send flowers to Mom? I can send her a dozen roses for $30. Say yes to confirm.”

In these examples, the voice assistant anticipated a search you might do in the future and did it for you. That’s one less search you will perform on the visual web.

This matters when it comes to search. It matters when it comes to domain names.

We’re witnessing a big battle for control of assistants. Soon, you’ll be able to choose wireless earbuds that work with Alexa, Google and many other systems. Unfortunately, these assistants are still fairly closed systems. This means the future of the web could run through one of these companies and it could lose its openness.

While you might not fall in love with your operating system, you might love how she anticipates your needs.

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