There is a new buzzword floating around the Internet the last year. Just when marketers and techies were beginning to get a good feel for the Internet, philosophizing trend predictors begin to talk about the next trend in Web technology. There is much controversy about 3.0, with due reason. From all the dissonant voices there is a general consensus about the definition of 3.0. This new technology is being termed Web 3.0. Most folks are familiar with Web 2.0, a term coined in 2004 as a marketing term. To understand Web 3.0 one must understand Web 2.0, and Web ‘1.0’.
Web 1.0 is not a definition that was ever used, except as a term to differentiate Web 2.0. 1.0 would be the initial inception of the World Wide Web. The aim of the WWW was to make large amounts of information widely available. With that, it gave rise to the big bad commercial Internet. Remember the dot com mania of the 1990’s? The natural evolution of the Web leads to 2.0. The hallmark of 2.0 is social networking and interactivity. These new trends begat new types of advertising and marketing, such as viral marketing. 2.0 is typified by such sites as and various blog sites. Web 3.0 is much more complex to explain than these previous stages of Web development.
Many refer to Web 3.0 as the Semantic Web. This would be the first step necessary to get 3.0 on track and in fact, a subset of 3.0. The Semantic Web is already a trend being put into play by many top companies. Semantic ties together words and phrases to other relevant words and phrases. For example if you searched for “orchid” the Web would know that “plant” or “gardening” are related words and this too would show up and vice versa. Companies like can give you recommendations based on your search criteria. This is a part of the Semantic Web. Taking this a giant leap forward is the goal of 3.0, artificial intelligence. AI is not at all like what would be portrayed in the media and apocalyptic Hollywood movies. It is not sinister. AI just means the Internet would think more like human beings.
John Markoff (2007) of The New York Times says 3.0 would make the Web “less of a catalogue and more of a guide” making functions on the web that can “reason in a human fashion”. Ironically, some people already use the Web as if it was a database versus the social construct that it is presently. The data will be tied together instead of being an island unto itself. Looking at the idea of a 3.0 Web is like gazing into a crystal ball at the future, except that it is a projection based on trends that are taking place now which are very real. It is hard to believe that the groundwork for 3.0 is actually taking place now in a major way. This, according to John Borland (2007), is because it has “been hidden in big companies and research institutes”. It is very much present however and is not going anywhere. Even the US government is taking stock and beginning to build intelligent technology! This is because artificial intelligence would take much of the time-consuming work searchers presently encounter to find what they need.
This technology has huge implications for the future of the Web, as well as other aspects of our life. Author Pete Morris believes it could include
* Microsoft and My Space reinventing the telephone
* Nokia looking to do Wi-Fi phones
* Getting paid read your e-mails
* The government starting to police virtual worlds
Morris also says that in order to achieve 3.0 would mean “the renewal of the Web’s key index – the essential data that is catalogued by search engines”. As for the future, we may even leave our purchasing decisions to our computer! Heidi Dawley believes that in the future our world will be “seen in three screens – the mobile, TV, and computer”. We currently see ads in terms of behavioral and demographic marketing but in the future it will be more of a “predictive model”. (Dawley 2007)
Web 3.0 is not without its critics. One of the best arguments out there is from a recent blog by Len Bullard (2007). He believes 3.0 will not be AI based but will have to address the problems of 2.0’s interactivity. Web 3.0, according to him, should be a security-based web. This needs to happen regardless on the back end of the web, but it should not define 3.0, besides the fact 3.0 is already picking up inertia and cannot be stopped. Web 3.0 is inevitable and will be an aide to all of humanity that uses modern technology. That is, unless you live in the bush.