Web’s 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and Beyond

As this is chicken soup for the business student I try to keep the topics a casual tonic from the stress that studying business brings. In order to keep this topic light and breezy I tried applying a simple analogy, alas to no avail. The lesson here would seem to be that sometimes in business you just have to get down to business. So without further ado here goes.

Any examination about these concepts has to start with at the beginning because it has to be remembered that all of these things are abstract concepts not tacit things. Web 1.0 and 2.0 were terms coined by Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media Inc. to differentiate between the Internet’s early beginnings where followed, in real time, one directional communication, while Web 2.0 provided the means for bi-lateral communications to take place. Occurring at the start of the internet Web 1.0 is a reflection of the technology that was available at the time. However, as technology improved the internet allowed communication to become more interactive for the owners of sites and the end users, feedback could be asked for and given. The web evolved from being somewhat restrictive in nature in regard to who could participate in the creation of content and blossomed into an inclusive arena where anyone could contribute which has allowed web 2.0 to experience unrestrained growth.

This has allowed third parties to borrow bits from others web content and merge them together to create something new, what we know as mashups. Unlike Web 1.0 where Internet material was fiercely protected, Web 2.0 welcomed the mashup. O’Reilly refers to these users as co-developers and describes this as harnessing collective intelligence. But, whatever you call it, what this activity has done is allowed users to take programs developed by others and expand upon them, or create something new.

Of course there are those who refer these terms Web 1.0, 2.0 etcetera as merely referring to the decades of the Internet. In which case as the World Wide Web became available in the eighties, such an interpretation would make the current time period as Web 3.0. Although another argument could be made for the claim that we are now already in the Web 3.0 era as the internet has increasingly merged with other communications technologies. We now have ease of access to the web on our smart phones, tablets, and even cars and watches if Apple deliver as they have promised. The 2000’s have certainly been the era of increasingly mobile internet.

Although others argue that Web 3.0 is the emergence of Semantic Web. In the 2012 book Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies P Anderson defines the Semantic Web as the thinking web a situation where the web by forming its own connections on the web will be able to interpret and/or anticipate what your needs are or will be, not to be confused with the artificial intelligence (AI) that we see in the movies where the machines are capable of independent thought much like the human brain, or machines capable of processing data known as semantic web. However, Anderson, while suggesting that Web 3.0 may be the Semantic Web acknowledges that there are many others with suggestions of their own.

While there have already been examples of programmable houses with programmed temperature controls, curtains being closed and opened, and other such conveniences this would seem a long way from Anderson’s vision of the Semantic Web. With 2020 just five years away it might just be that the Semantic Web really begins to emerge within the same time frame as those that interpret Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 etcetera once again adding weight to this interpretation. Certainly as the internet has become more welcoming of the collective intelligence the pace of change has been increasing considerably.


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