This post, originally written in the beginning of 2013, had a title: Web 3.0 doesn’t have a name (yet).
Since the beginning of 2014 we know already: Web 3 is the Internet of Things.
What is web 3.0?
Web 1.0 lasted from the first website in 1993 to about 2003-4, when high buzz on web 2.0 made evolutionary transition from static information display (including ‘moving’ gifs) to more interactive (including user-generated content) web 2.0. So where are we with web 3.0?
Are we there yet, or not even close?
How can we tell if there is no clear definition of what web 2.0 is yet? The name “Web 2.0” was started by Dale Dougherty, a vice-president of O’Reilly Media and quickly became a buzz. Most agree that it is interactive, ‘social web’, but beyond that there is as many understandings of web 2.0 as people in the room. Everyone used the term already around 2006 – from startups trying to launch themselves to prosperity, to web developer’s clients. Some saw objects reflected on shiny surfaces as evidence of web 2.0, while others meant social widgets inserted into pages. There are people who resent using dot zero nomenclature for something that is evolving so wildly in technology, as it stunts broader innovation and blurs bigger picture.
Have Web 3.0 started yet?
What we mean by Web 3.0? It is the next era in how online information is created and how people will interact with it. Is it now? Seeing in person that transformation from web 1.0 to 2.0 took about 10 years, we are now shifting to web 3.0. Many elements of web 3.0 are here already. Of course saying now how web 3.0 will look like is just guessing the future game. However many challenges to the status quo of web and advancement of accessibility of human-kind knowledge through the internet makes rapid evolution easier. Thus fore we can already determine emerging trends. It is more evolutionary than a switch type of event.
When we heard about web 2.0, name started to pop up everywhere. We don’t notice that yet with web 3.0. It may be not this name exactly, but some term coining the new era is just around the corner. It will pop up one day soon, most probably in a marketing campaign context, and will spread like a wild fire, go viral, become a new meme… you know what I mean.
In fact, web 3.0 is here, now. What defines new generation “really comes down to a convergence of three things: new enabling technology, enhanced monetization opportunities, and consequently new categories of products that resulted in new use patterns for end-users.” say Neal Cabage and Sonya Zhang in their article Web 3.0 has begun
What are the elements of web 3.0?
Experts agree already that next generation web will be <strong>personal and portable</strong>. We don’t want to see all the information that is out there – we want to see only what is important and relevant to us, and we want to be able to take that information with us wherever we are or go. “Me” context becomes the most important.
Can you imagine how difficult it is to create a website that suits everyone’s needs this way? Maybe it will not be an internet of websites. Maybe a mobile application will do what we want? But how much time do I have to spend to find application that satisfies my needs? How many applications do I need to have on my internet device? If they are built on different platforms, will I be able to access them?
End of the web browser?
With increasing use of mobile devices, web 3.0 may see a demise of a web browser as we know it. Browser needs to be rewritten with web applications in mind. Java runs very well on mobile internet devices – it was built from the ground up to be portable. Mobile applications are built either as native or browser based. Ajax plays so far major role to save number of server requests on mobile devices to limit increasing bandwidth requirements. One emerging idea is a combination of current browsers, ActiveX, and Java to create something that can be both a mini-operating system and a development platform, to replace ‘real web‘ internet browser.
Is Google Chrome heading in this direction?
For you and me, it would be like loading up our office application, seamlessly switching between a word processor and a spreadsheet, and just as seamlessly switching to an online multiplayer role playing game. Essentially, each website would be an application of its own, and we could easily go from one website/application to the next, on our personal internet device.
It brings us to Semantic Web.
…which is a web where information is categorized and stored in such a way that a computer can understand what human meant asking for information. Many view this as a combination of artificial intelligence and the semantic web. We need to teach computer what the data means, so huge data stores can evolve into artificial intelligence that humans can utilize. People know all things through the experience and intuition. Machines know things through processing tons of data through pre-programmed algorithms. When this did not suffice (like in the first experiment to teach supercomputer play Jeopardy), we added gazillions of examples of what some data meanings are in context, to build better artificial intelligence and thus allow for semantic web. This way we can ask computer human questions and computer data have added metadata syntax that describes things and their relations, so computer can respond intelligently to our queries.
So for instance you are planning to see a movie and go for Mexican food afterwards…
Jonathan Strickland says – “Some internet experts believe the next generation of the Web […] will make tasks like your search for movies and food faster and easier. Instead of multiple searches, you might type a complex sentence or two in your Web 3.0 browser, and the Web will do the rest. In our example, you could type “I want to see a funny movie and then eat at a good Mexican restaurant. What are my options?” The Web 3.0 browser will analyze your response, search the Internet for all possible answers, and then organize the results for you.”
This is the next big breakthrough. The days of regular search engine where we plug in a keyword and spend hours to sift out all the garbage responses are hopefully coming to end.
Some think that social bookmarking as a search engine can provide more intelligent results than using Google. You are getting websites that have been voted on by humans, so you have a better chance at finding what you meant.
For instance Microsoft argues that Bing is a better search engine, because Microsoft used for years humans to rank each website for search results. In this process, you have about 15-20 seconds to evaluate a web page for given search term. Microsoft then ranked that page based on a large group of individual scrutinizer markings.
“However, because of the human factor, the results can also be manipulated. A group of people could vote for a particular websites or article with the intent of making it more popular. So, if artificial intelligence can learn how to separate the good from the bad, it could produce results similar to social bookmarking while eliminating some of the bad elements.” says Daniel Nations
The web 3.0 UI (user interface)
Web 3.0 is shaping as ‘the personal, portable web’. “Me”-centric, focused on individual life stream, consolidating dynamic content and semantic approach to suit individual user preferences and behaviour.
We may expect web 3.0 browser to act like a personal assistant. It will organize your searches with artificial intelligence backing, so the results will be more on target with your personality, abilities, location and history.
“As you search the Web, the browser learns what you are interested in. The more you use the Web, the more your browser learns about you and the less specific you’ll need to be with your questions. Eventually you might be able to ask your browser open questions like “where should I go for lunch?” Your browser would consult its records of what you like and dislike, take into account your current location and then suggest a list of restaurants.” says Strickland.
Once you are connected, you want to see things organized your way, like on your own desk. This brings us to drag&drop mashups as individual interface, as more suitable for “me” context rather than current corporate or social networks’ sites.
Web 3.0 as a virtual web
Gamification seems a very popular way of doing things these days. Millenials grew up on multiplayer role playing games, and now – at work, want to make everything familiar virtual fun. We have strong gamification trends in learning, education and workplace training. And of course – there is gamification in entertainment, from games, sports, virtual travels to virtual shopping experience. Even virtual medical services emerge, where experienced surgeon can perform an operation in a remote location through the use of internet and game-based tools’ controls. A vision for web 3.0 shopping is going to a virtual mall where you would browse many brands’ stores and interact with people in virtual cafés. You may try on clothing virtually before you buy them, and also be suggested other purchases based on your history of preferences.
Internet of Things
All kind of devices, more than a billion of them, are already connected to the internet.They communicate not only with us, humans, but also among themselves. Possibilities are endless. For instance a device in your car may record your driving in context of your location on the road and road signs, and report back to your car insurance company, through a web portal with reporting interface. Seismologic sensors may create automatic maps of seismic activity around the world, available online. Almost every physical object in a long shot can be networked, and enhanced with artificial intelligence connected to global internet. We can have microchips implanted to monitor our health or locate Alzheimer patients. And whith drones what it does to the arms control…
Maybe the next generation Internet will be called an Internet of Things.
Why we don’t like web 2.o any more?
We lost efficiency in the ocean of available data.
It lacks personalization, interoperability, true portability.
We want to talk like humans, but have machines to understand and anticipate.
We want to have everything, anywhere, all the time, in “me“ context.
We want to build our own content channels.
Web 3.0 will be about meaning of data (semantic search, artificial intelligence), personalization of experience, behavioural and contextual marketing of products and services. At the current moment people cannot agree on the name, definition, or even existence of Web 3.0. Some startups advertise as web 3.0 to position themselves as ‘the next big thing’ – and there is nothing wrong with it – that’s how most hits started, and some of them emerged as the big winner.
At the right moment we will hear the roaring buzz of what really web 3.0 name will be.
(cover photo contains a screenshot of economico.pt – Portuguese business website, which employs xRTML real-time protocol to display real-time business data and real-time analytics of what viewers are reading in this real moment, sorted by most read articles. It also allows to drag, drop and remove sections of the page to suit your preferences.)