I was recently made aware of the existence of a lovely project called Gemini. The easiest way for me to describe it—and apology to the people that are running this project for probably butchering and oversimplifying the whole idea—is to say it's an alternative to the current Web as in an alternative to the World Wide Web and its http protocol.
The premises of this whole enterprise are genuinely lovely. They want to make something that is simpler than the current www, runs at a human scale, it's distraction free and it's privacy focused. Those sound great.
When I first read about this project I was like "Sign me up!". I started digging into the documentation and even installed a client to browse content served over the gemini:// protocol. And I'm not gonna lie to you, it is pretty neat.
But then I started wondering what would be the point for me to even serve content this way. The four points mentioned above—simplicity, privacy, human scale and distraction free—are not something that it's unattainable on the current web. Quite the opposite. You can easily do that but it requires some conscious effort.
I like what the people at Gemini are trying to build. A primarily text only internet sounds very intriguing but I think this won't really solve the underlying issue. People who believe in privacy, in simple sites, in a more human web, will pursuit all those things no matter the platform they're using.
The page you're browsing right now weighs less than 10KB when served compressed. Your browser had to download two files in order to display the content you're reading. A site on the WWW can be simple. And as for most things in life, it all comes down to what motivates you. If your goal it to have a site where you can track people and sell ads, no matter what protocol you're using, you'll probably try to find a way to do that. And I don't believe that inventing a more limited tech solution is the way to solve this issue. I think what we need is a more humane approach to what websites are. I think we need to stop caring about analytics, about numbers, about bloated websites, about fancy animations, about popups, and go back to a more simple and quiet web.
And this is not meant to be a critique to the people working on the Gemini project. I genuinely believe it's an awesome project and a very intriguing one. I just believe it's not a solution to a problem that is, in my opinion, a human one and not a tech one.