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  • Coming Soon to a Device Near You: Web 3.0

    23 July 2010

    Web 3.0Hold on… aren’t we still figuring out what Web 2.0 is?  Well, yes.  But those on the cutting edge have been dreaming of Web 3.0 for quite some time already.  In fact, the oldest reference we can find to Web 3.0 was when Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, was asked about it at a conference back on August 2, 2007.  In any case, whether we’re ready or not, Web 3.0 is on its way, so let’s start the conversation about what it’s all about.

    But before we start talking about Web 3.0…

    It makes sense to get clear on what Web 2.0 is all about.  When the Internet first took off (we can call it Web 1.0, although it was never referred to as such back then), it wasn’t really interactive at all.  It was basically like a library of information.  You could look for what you wanted, read the results, and that was about the end of it.  The most interactivity we found was the ability to purchase products and maybe email a company for more information (through a web form if the site was really high-speed!).

    With the emergence of Web 2.0, the Internet has become very interactive, even to the point where site visitors create the web content.  The most prevalent sites on the net, like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter could not exist without members contributing content.  To a lesser degree, even smaller sites, from news feeds to personal blogs, give visitors a chance to weigh in on the content, through comments, ratings and forums.  Some of these sites, news feeds in particular, actually decide which content visitors see first, based on ratings by previous visitors.  In this way, while the content itself is generated by the site, how that content is delivered is decided upon by the masses.  Then there are the social bookmarking sites, like digg, Slashdot, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.  These also depend on reader submissions for their existence.  In general, Web 2.0 has made the web hyper-interactive.  In other words, it has allowed people worldwide to interact with sites and with each other whenever they want, wherever they want, in real time.  This has made the Internet more intuitive and vastly more useful.  Of course, there’s more to Web 2.0, including design elements and mobile connectivity, but that’s a brief overview.

    So, what can we expect from Web 3.0?

    Web 3.0 continues the evolution of the Internet.  Unlike a software application, we can’t put a “release date” on the next version of the web.  There won’t be a day when we say, yesterday Web 2.0 ended, and today Web 3.0 begins.  Instead, just like with all evolutionary processes, the transition to Web 3.0 will be gradual.  We’re already seeing some signs of this transition, but most experts predict we will be safe to say we are fully in Web 3.0 some time after late 2011 and before 2014.

    What will this next version of the web look like?  No one knows for sure.  Technology and ingenuity is continually advancing, so it’s likely that it will include features we can’t even imagine right now.  We can however predict more generally what kinds of functionality we can expect.  The word most used by web experts to describe Web 3.0 is “intuitive.”  For example, let’s say the Academy Awards show is going to begin in a few hours.  You want to know what time to tune in, so you go to Google and begin to type your query: “what time do the a…” Google, in a failed attempt to be intuitive, provides these search suggestions:

    What Time Google

    Above are Google’s actual search suggestion results on the night of the 2010 Academy Awards. The American Music Awards, the first suggestion, airs more than three months before the Academy Awards.  On the night of the Academy Awards, the search suggestion function wouldn’t have to be all that intuitive to know that that is, if not your most likely search query, at least much more likely than the AMAs.  Instead, “what time do the academy awards start” is the last suggestion, even below “when do the arizona cardinals play…” well after football season has ended.

    Will it be your best friend ever?

    The prediction for Web 3.0 is that all of the searches and a lot more will improve immensely.  Not only will sites be more generally intuitive, they will be tuned into you and your personal preferences.  This is actually true with Google’s search suggestion function now, when you have your search history turned on, but it still has a long way to go.  According to Wired Magazine‘s Kevin Kelly, Google and others will indeed go a long way in the new Web 3.0 environment.  Kelly and others envision a web that knows you better than anything or anyone, when it comes to what you like, what you don’t like, and what you want and don’t want.

    For example, rather than searching five different travel sites to find the best deal on a vacation package, the evolved web will not only come up with the best deals, but will narrow the results down to, for instance, tropical locations that are kid-friendly.  Want to go to dinner and a movie?  You would just need to type the phrase “dinner and a movie tonight” to get a list of movies now playing and your favorite restaurants that are within five miles of the theater closest to you.  Web 3.0 will “learn” about you based on your online activity and will get smarter, the more you use the Internet.

    The question remains, do we really want the web to “know” us that well?  Also, what about people who share computers?  The beauty of the web, whatever “version”, is that it naturally molds to the preferences of the majority, so these and other questions will work themselves out as the evolution continues.

    As entrepreneurs, we know that the only constant is change.  So as uncomfortable as this new A.I.-like web may make some, we can say for sure it’s not a matter of if but when.  And the best thing we can do is spot the trends happening, adapt, and even lead when possible.  This will ensure that whatever the future brings, we’re ready to capitalize – for Web 3.0 and beyond.

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    13 Responses to Coming Soon to a Device Near You: Web 3.0

    1. tires July 23, 2010 at 9:14 am #

      I’ve never been too big on the whole “web 2.0″ coined phrase. It’s like you say, the internet has gone threw an evolutionary processes. In my opinion Web 3.0 will arrive yes, but let’s just let it be the internet… and it’s “evolution” instead of dubbing it 3.0 and what not ;-)

      One thing for sure though entrepreneurs will take full advantage no matter what evolutionary web version we may see in the future of the internet, in fact I would say that entrepreneurs will lead those changes. :)

      Till then,

      Jean

    2. Credit Girl July 23, 2010 at 9:18 am #

      Yeah, I could definitely see a gradual transition to web 3.0. The web is pretty user friendly already but it’ll probably be a million more times useful for the average user.

    3. JohnAtBlogtrepreneur July 24, 2010 at 9:48 am #

      @tires: I know what you mean. There are no clear lines from one “version” to the next, so to some extent, what’s the point? In any case big changes will continue to happen, and as entrepreneurs we can capitalize by watching closely and adapting as we need to.

    4. Jason July 25, 2010 at 11:33 am #

      Interesting topic. Web 3.0 is going to be greatly affected by the expansion of AJAX into more and more applications. AJAX is the technology that basically powers the ‘intuitiveness’ that you are referring to. While it is not entirely new, it is only now becoming quite pervasive.

      I think we are still a ways off from the true realization of web 3.0 however. The ‘semantic web’ is going to be the next huge difference maker in the way we use the web. It will provide significantly more accurate search results than anything we can dream of today. It is still at least 10 years out however (any reports of an earlier ETA are highly optimistic). When you combine AJAX with the eventual realization of the semantic web, you are going to see a drastically different browsing experience. Good article on a very interesting topic

      Jason
      http://twitter.com/StartupSidekick (Follow me on Twitter for fresh entrepreneurial advice)

    5. Email Marketing Blog July 27, 2010 at 6:49 am #

      Everyone who use a lot internet can see an evolution from WEB 2.0 to WEB 3.0, i think this new thing on the web will be a huge modification for the user and would be maybe offline

    6. Carlton August 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

      I think Microsoft silverlight is the first step into the future of web. We would see more user friendly systems in future.

    7. Legitiamte Work From Home Jobs August 4, 2010 at 6:14 am #

      Intuitive – what other direction could the web go? We are already starting to see examples of this – in the form of search suggestions as you mentioned as well as targeted advertisements. The web will continue to evolve. I hope I can think outside the box enough to jump in on the ground floor.

    8. Laptop Briefcases August 4, 2010 at 10:46 am #

      It sounds like they could get into privacy violations if websites try to learn about people too much. I think a lot of people would be a little paranoid if websites get too intuitive.

      Another thing that will shape how the web evolves is internet connection speeds. Web 2.0 didn’t really blossom until high speed internet connections were more common. Now new technology has blown away previous speeds. Once that technology catches on more, people will expect more of a high end graphical & video experience.

    9. JohnAtBlogtrepreneur August 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

      @Laptop: Excellent points. Privacy is definitely one of the big concerns for the evolution of the web. It will be important for users to speak up and help to shape legislation to protect everyone.

      As for connection speeds, we have a lot of catching up to do in the US. Our average speeds are way below many other industrialized countries. There will come a day when we don’t even think about speed because everything is basically instantaneous, but we’re a ways away from that point.

      Thanks all for sharing!

    10. Tej Kohli August 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

      wow After Web 2.0 …… Web 3.0 is coming to market I am So Excited

    11. Web Design LA Spinx August 5, 2010 at 4:16 am #

      Compare to web 2.0 our expectation high with web 3.0, what ever i heard and read till now about web 3.0, Microsoft heavily concentrating on web 3.0 technologies

    12. LS 2208 August 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

      LOL. Most people in the “real world” haven’t even figured out Web 1.0 yet, let alone Web 2.0. The cool thing is that with newer web technologies, they’ll just seamlessly integrate into what we do and we won’t even really know they’re working.

      Meaning, the Google thing you mentioned – it’ll work much better but people probably won’t notice.

      The question is whether what you describe as being Web 3.0 is actually Web 3.0 or if it’s just a new feature of Web 2.0? I think the line between the two will have to be much clearer than that when someone invents some new way to more closely mimic human behavior online.

      I guess we COULD watch Star Trek to find out what’s coming next. :) We all know that Google is the “Computer” on Star Trek.

      “Computer what time do the academy awards start?” – Picard

    13. mature singles August 12, 2010 at 2:46 am #

      Predictive and intelligent websites. Scary and exciting at the same time :)

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