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What will web 3.0 look like? 5 April 2010

Posted by Helen in Trends.
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Everyone (in this program, at least) knows that today’s web is “web 2.0.”

For a site to be part of Web 2.0, it might be (in O’Reilly‘s terms) a “child of the Internet era.” Netscape was web 1.0 because it still thought in terms of traditional publishing– the desktop became the webtop. However, age really has nothing to do with whether a site is 1.0 or 2.0; O’Reilly classifies eBay as web 2.0, though its 1995 founding date makes it a contemporary with Netscape, and there are still plenty of websites created by people who don’t really understand the web that could be classified as 1.0.

Web 2.0 covers the entire Internet, not just the most trafficked parts. It is no wonder that the BBC notes that the best websites do one thing well; the Long Tail theory has shown that there is a market for niche sites, and with help of search engines, anyone can find them. Whereas it might behoove a printed resource to cover many things poorly in the interest of shelf space, the internet is limitless; one can use as many sites as one needs for as many tasks as one needs to accomplish. Therefore, only the best information will do.

Everyone participates, either as a server (with Napster, etc.), an author (blogging, etc.), a taxonomist (Flickr) — web 2.0 gathers from all sources. It’s continually updated: RSS makes it easy to get news as it happens. And it can be accessed from anywhere. Riding the bus has never been more fun since I got my iPhone.

All of this is nice, but what might the future– web 3.0– look like? I did a quick Google search and came across the (highly-academic) How Web 3.0 Will Work on eHow. If web 2.0 is a giant brain that draws on the knowledge of the collective, web 3.0 will apply that knowledge and throw it back at us– like the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey or the spaceship in Alien.  Science fiction movies tell us that web 3.0 is scary, but history tells us that technological change is not to be feared.

Therefore, I must listen to my internal netizen, who is excited for this unfathomed potential, rather than my internal product of Hollywood, who whispers that change is bad and will ultimately lead to our demise at the hands of robots.

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