Web 3.0 – what is it, how will it affect me and when will it arrive?
As the web has developed, so have the buzzwords and terms that describe it. What feels like only yesterday, everyone was asking for a web 2.0 website, assuming that this instantly explained what they needed. What is actually described was a style of functionality that encouraged sharing and interaction. Although it wasn’t named as such, there was also a stage of web now referred to as web 1.0. The three ‘stages’ so far can be described as follows:
Web 1.0 – Displaying and linking
In the beginning the web was just a lot of content all independently hosted and occasionally linked together by hyperlinks. The web was purely an information resource, providing links to more related information.
Web 2.0 – Social and Collaboration
This is where we are now. Web technology grew to allow more interaction between people using the web as well as allowing them to comment and rate content to help others to find what they’re looking for. Furthermore, web 2.0 has seen social media and social networks explode into our everyday lives.
Web 3.0 – Semantic Web
This name was given to 3.0 by Tim Bernes-Lee who is said to have invented the web, but the concept around 3.0 was first covered in the media by Scientific American, a US publication in 2001. The concept is that machines have the ability to actually ‘read’ the content of web pages as we do, and understand the true meaning.
In web 2.0, the meaning is established through the use of keywords and tags, so the machines don’t have to understand the content. Web 3.0 is less about an overhaul of web format and display, and more about the software agents becoming more intelligent and advanced. Web 3.0 is about being able to ask a computer to ‘find a hairdresser within 3 miles who has an appointment free this afternoon’. It is the ability of all databases to communicate with each other and provide intelligent, simple query results back to user based on multiple factors.
Another good example of semantic web is the ability for machines to be able to decipher the intended meaning of the keyword phrase ‘Paris Hilton’ to be either the hotel in Paris, or the model-come-business woman and future heiress of the Hilton empire. In semantic web, the machines would know, based on a number of factors, which of the two Paris Hiltons that you are looking for.
The definition of web 3.0 is still to be set as the technology that will dictate what it is has yet to be fine-tuned. There are three areas that are talked about around web 3.0 advances:
3D web – as the title suggests, 3D web is about bringing web content from flat 2D into a more and more realistic three-dimensional cyberworld. With the launch of 3D films in recent years, the arrival of 3D web does not seem at all unrealistic.
Media centric – currently the machines rely on keywords and tags to understand the meaning on media content like video, in web 3.0 they would be able to understand the content as is.
Pervasive web – pervasive web is when the web comes deeper into our everyday lives, perhaps into our mirrors to display the morning news as we clean our teeth, or into the kitchen window to display a recipe as you cook.
The official ‘launch’ of web 3.0 may be a way off, but we will probably start to see parts of what we’ve talked about in this article begin to appear in our everyday lives over the next couple of years. Watch this space!