Since I put up my post about Web 3.0 yesterday I have had more hits on that page than any other in my blog history, apart from the ones explicitly about data security. This is not only amazing due to the lack of content, but hilarious because I was saying that I don't know what it is...
It appears that there are people out there searching through blogs looking for the meaning of the web. How the web imitates life. So, it seems to me that if I put out a definitive definition (as all definitions should be) and labeled it up properly, within a couple of weeks, whatever I said would be right just by sheer force of numbers.
Right, here goes... only kidding. This is what I've pulled together over the past few weeks, my understanding as it currently is. I welcome criticism and comments.
A brief history:
Web 1.0 is the web as most of us have grown up with it. HTML pages served up to us with little interaction, maybe the odd form to fill in which populates a back-end database, safely (we hope) situated deep in the belly of retail.com, travel.com or otherbusiness.com.
Neither Web 1.0 nor Web 2.0 has a hard boundary, however, the concepts surrounding the idea are fundamentally different. Whereas 1.0 treated the web as a communication medium and the providers of content control the data, the core values of 2.0 are using the web as a platform and users controling their own data/content.
If Web 2.0 is basically using existing web technology and becoming more interactive, Web 3.0 has to be making that interaction more data-centric. Data-centric as opposed to user-centric, and data-centric as opposed to file-centric. I'm in heaven. I prayed for this day to come. But it hasn't yet of course.
The Semantic Web (TSW) is often talked about in hushed tones at present, as though no-one really dares say it too loud in case it doesn't actually happen. It's another one of Tim Berners-Lee's brainstorms, so it's got to be good, but it does depend on completely different styles of usage of the web, and that's going to take some programming. The basic premise of TSW is that URLs are used as database fields, the web is just one giant database (Web 3.0) and we can shove whatever applications on top of it that we like (Web 2.0), and secure our "databases" as we wish (phew, jobs for us still).
Taking this to its logical conclusion therefore, Web 4.0 will be when users become largely irrelevant and it becomes an entity which survives on its own, humans essentially becoming its servants, feeding in an endless supply of data, or parasites living at its outer reaches living off scraps. Very 1984.
How the web imitates life.