Measuring the Web: Announcing the Web Index

The World Wide Web Foundation is very pleased to announce an exciting new initiative: the World Wide Web Index.   We thank Google for a generous grant of US $1 million to the Foundation, which is being leveraged to seed the creation of the Index.  I’m thrilled that we are finally able to start on the project, as I have believed in and worked toward this for almost three years.  I’m also thrilled that Hania Farhan, with deep experience in the field of developing credible indexes, will be the project manager for this effort.

What is the Web Index? The Web Index will be the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web and its impact on people in a large number of countries.  It will be a composite index, incorporating political, economic, social, and developmental indicators, as well as indicators of Web connectivity and infrastructure.

Why compile a Web Index?  The Index will allow for comparisons of trends over time and across borders. It will provide indications of technical conditions that are present or not present in a country that are at least coincidental with, if not related to,  the political, economic and social impact of the Web.  This will make it a powerful tool of analysis for policy makers and investors,  allowing them to make more effective and better targeted investment strategies.  The Index may well raise more questions than it answers, and motivate additional Web Science research into the Web as not just a technology, but as humanity connected by technology.

The Index will be fully transparent, looking at both the negative and positive impact of the Web in society, and it will be published on an annual basis. We expect to launch the first edition in early 2012.  We are aiming to attract additional interested and respected founding donors to ensure the sustainability of this valuable project into the future.

Watch this space and the Web Index project page for further updates.  Please contact me directly if you have questions, comments or ideas on how to make the Web Index a truly useful product.

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