Wednesday, January 16, 2008

From Web 2.0 to Web 3.0

Recently the term Web 2.0 has been becoming more and more often used when referring to the current state of the internet and specifically new trends in web design. The term Web 2.0 often refers to the use of AJAX, which itself is just a term used to refer to a set of technologies; including JavaScript and XML, which allows a web page to retrieve and display extra data, without having to reload the entire page. It also commonly refers to websites which have social networks, wikis, or blogs. However

“The Web 2.0 meme has become so widespread that companies are now pasting it on as a marketing buzzword, with no real understanding of what it means.
If I was going to sum up what I think best describe the changes that have happened to the internet in the last few years, which is what I think has led to what people are calling Web 2.0, it would be that the internet has moved from static pages which serve content that the publisher wants you to see, to now being a place of content submitted by the users, and websites are now services that aim to aggregate and display this information as efficiently as possible.

Now people are starting to talk about the term Web 3.0, which is completely not defined, but is just a term that is used to refer to the general future of the internet. I have seen the term Web 3.0 used as a marketing tool in many places, an example of this can be seen at
where the term is used to try to hype up new features that will be implemented in future releases of the website. Some people have tried to define what they think Web 3.0 is going to be. But all of these definitions are just predictions of where people think the internet is going to be in a few years. These predictions range from simple explanations with no references, such as
“It basically means web browsing with 3D experience
to the more complicated, and filled with as many buzzy catch phrases as possible
“Web 3.0, expected to debut in 2007, will be more connected, open, and intelligent, with semantic Web technologies, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents."
If you want to check out more of peoples predictions, Wikipedia has a couple on it's Web 3.0 page. All of the many references to Web 3.0 only have one thing in common, and that is they speculate about the future of the internet.

That being said, I think that it shouldn't be too hard to find the differences in Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. Web 2.0 generally refers to the current set of trends within the internet, and Web 3.0 is just a term used by people who want to continue using this style of naming the phases of the web, and would like to make predictions about where they think these trends will lead in the future. So if Web 3.0 is the future, what will be the impact of it? Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to this question, although I'm sure whatever happens that things will change, since that is really the only constant in as time passes.

In conclusion, do I think that Web x.y is just a marketing gimmick? To be blunt, yes. The term has been used to refer to the new age of the internet, and it has been used so commonly and without thought or definition that to most people it has very little meaning. Web 3.0 currently has no definition, so it is just a term that people use to attract people who have followed the crowd of Web 2.0, which is most often used as a marketing tool. The internet will always continue to evolve, and unless a major change causes everyone to access or publish on the internet differently, I see no reason to use version numbers on the web. When I open up my browser, I still go to the same internet as before, the content has changed, and it will continue to change in the years to come.