I had lunch with John Frankel the other day. John is a prolific investor in early stage internet companies through ff Asset Management and a person with well formed opinions about where to invest. Next to his office is a magnificent building. I was checking out its history and architecture via Wikihood on my iPhone when John spied me in the middle of my research and it sparked a discussion on how it was possible, but so difficult to do this same research only 4 years ago. Though possible, it would not have been real-time, would have taken multiple applications to perform, and by the time I realized what was necessary to pull together the project (and a project it would have been), I would have run out of patience and been onto my next task.
John calls this the Why barrier. He goes on to explain that the layering of API's, proffered free of charge, has created the opportunity for so many applications to offer so much to so many for such a 'cheap' price that the reasons to not gather information, or use an application are falling every day. Apple has passed 10 billion downloads in its App Store, with 7 million downloads in the last 12 months. Moreover, it's only getting easier to find and download applications, a trend he sees only exploding as inter connectivity, and the vast data exposed and collected, married with GPS data, only increases application utility.