Web 3.0 Versus Web 2.0

Wow — there has been quite a firestorm over the term Web 3.0 on the blogosphere today and yesterday. While I am remaining neutral, I also have an open mind regarding what it could be defined to represent. Here are some random thoughts towards defining term:

  • Web 2.0 can’t last forever. Unless we all think that from now until eternity the Web will always be in 2.0 stage? As soon as you put a stake in the ground, there has to be something after it. By defining the term Web 2.0, that makes it not only valid, but eventually necessary to go to a term like Web 3.0.
  • Web 3.0 could be defined as “whatever comes after Web 2.0.” Clearly unless Web 2.0 is an undefined open-ended term, there have to be things that are outside its scope, right? Ok then, so what is Web 2.0? Can anyone please tell me, because frankly it never seemed to be a clearly defined term either! Everyone I ask defines it differently. In fact, I remember when the term first came out and there were all these blog surveys asking “what does Web 2.0 mean to you?” etc. That’s because nobody really knew. It’s a term that has taken on meaning over time, but there was a lot of resistance to it, and confusion about it, at first.
  • According to the Wikipedia, Web 2.0 is defined as: “Web 2.0, a phrase coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004[1], refers to a supposed second generation of Internet-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users.”
  • So by the same pattern, we might define Web 3.0 as “Web 3.0, a phrase coined by John Markoff of the New York Times in 2006, refers to a supposed third generation of Internet-based services — such as those using semantic web, microformats, natural language search, data-mining, machine learning, recommendation agents, and artificial intelligence technologies — that emphasize machine-facilitated understanding of information in order to provide a more productive and intuitive user experience.”

With that in mind, do we need the term? I could go either way on it. Is Web 3.0 different from Web 2.0? Yes, definitely — Web 2.0 is about social collaboration, AJAX, mash-ups and 50 other things, but not semantics or intelligence. Is Web 3.0 synonymous with the Semantic Web or artificial intelligence? No, it’s broader than either one and covers a range of next-generation technologies and approaches for making the Web smarter.

If you accept the term Web 2.0 (which always seemed like a rather vaguely defined phrase to me) then there should be no reason not to accept the term Web 3.0. That said, I think I like Scoble’s proposal — let’s just call it Web 2007 instead! I think that’s a better labelling schema.

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2 Responses to Web 3.0 Versus Web 2.0

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