During the industrial era, the first public Web 1.0 activities consisted mainly of exchanging emails from the first personal computers. This was the era of Gopher, Excite, AltaVista and Netscape, as well as the Whole Earth Catalog, The Well and The Source, Ted Nelson (Hypertext, Xanadu and Computer Lib, 1974), Vannevar Bush (Memex, 1945) and Doug Engelbart (Arpanet, mouse, hypertext, 1968), etc.

With the debut of the era of a knowledge-based society, the contents of what was called Web 2.0 changed in significant ways. Notably they became more visual, e.g. videos on Facebook, the Google Map and Skype phone.

This era started with a bang thanks to new algorithms that reveal the tastes of the consumer and allow friends to connect, as well as enabling the customization of advertising strategies (PageRank, 1998). If this transition has created many losers, such as cartels of film, book, music and disc, it has also created winners : Google, eBay, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, etc.

Recently, the four largest industrial consortia were replaced by four others, the Big Four (GAFA). The Big Four have become post-industrial (2010) because they have understood the role that mobility and geo-location will play in the future :

1990 : 2010 :
Microsoft Google
Intel Apple
Cisco Facebook
Dell Amazon

The Big Four profoundly alters all our political-economic-media structures, for several reasons :

  • They offer the planet multi-interactive digital platforms ;
  • Their market values ​​are now calculated in $ multiple billions ;
  • They profoundly alter the behavior of users ;
  • They are revolutionizing the entire consumer sector ;
  • They are growing at an alarming rate (developing at the rate of the square of the number of users).

The Big Four

Employees: Value Capital Profits
millions Billions $ Billions $
Apple 76. 100 548 m 41 m 121 m
Amazon 81. 400 110 m 5 m
Google 53.546 222 m 10 m 46 m
Facebook 4.331 56 m 0.1 m 10 m