We humans love new, labelled stuff! As soon as Web 2.0 was labelled, people pretty much straight away started asking, what is Web 3.0? How about Web 4.0? Beyond? Really, web evolution is a set of mostly very small steps all over the place, with a few giant leaps, people building on their own and other people’s ideas. Personally I’m with Nova Spivack’s view of looking at the web movement as decades, rather than fractions, as really only history will tell us what was what.
But, it is easier for folk to think in terms of numbers that loosely group something together. It’s the same at my workplace – people love the new – introduce a new, difficultly sourced, sweated over product, and it’s almost old hat straight away – maybe it’s linked to the human condition – strive, build, change, (ideally) improve. No doubt this has pushed us from spears to smartphones.
With this in mind, here’s my understanding of the Web version fractions:
The original web was dubbed Web 1.0, mainly a read only broadcast/presentation.
Web 2.0 is the development of Web 1.0 in ways that are interactive, collaborative, two way, with a richer user experience. Humans refining and developing their tools.
Web 3.0 has a few frontrunners. Among the contenders:
- Location based technology, e.g, Facebook’s new ‘Live Location’ Social Media today – Facebook live location messenger launch, where Facebook users can share their location (or a static map point) with chosen other users for 60 minutes.
- Mobile technology
- The TV/internet interface (sometimes people getting more than they bargained for with the CIA/Samsung tv hack!) The Onion Samsung Smart TV article)
- The Internet of Things – linking of physical objects and people
- Voice/gesture interfaces
- Crazy idea (possibly) the result of somebody, who is working in their garage right now, that is not on anyone’s radar!
But the Web 3.0 leader seems to be the Semantic Web. This is about improved data and its structure and links, W3C– standardising internet communicating and adding data to enable computers to automatically process information for humans. For example, a machine knowing ‘igloo’ and ‘inuit home’ are the same, or, ‘coffee’ and ‘necessary’ (well, that one may be a stretch!).
Standardisation of the web is a huge aim; adding to existing web pages to make them smarter, and encouraging of standards adoption by new websites. Information architecture has a big part to play in this – ‘The practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable’ – Information Architecture Institute.
All of these developments have generated mountains of data, termed ‘Big Data‘, which has spawned new technologies, and almost limitless ways for business and other organisations to use that data. We’ve gone from, say, being able to estimate the quantity of corner store icecream sales on a sunny day compared to a rainy one, to: LA reducing traffic congestion by around 16% by using (rather big) data from magnetic road sensors and cameras, fed through to 4,500 city traffic lights! And I thought Stats 101 was tricky!
Web 4.0 has also been called the ‘symbiotic web’, or super smart web, with the web moving towards using artificial intelligence, and acting more like person to person.
We may be able to throw away our science fiction books when we’re living with Web 5.0, because it could be science fact. Web 5.0 is sometimes suggested as the ’emotional’ web, where machines can read and react to human emotions.
What is the Chinese curse – ‘may you live in interesting times’!
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