When I saw that seminar title, I thought sheesh I’m still trying to figure out what Web 2.0 encompasses. It turns out that a lot of people are still doing that. Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide Web, once said “I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means.”
This is a great article that attempts to define the differences between Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. It even offers what Web 4.0 and beyond may look like:
Here’s a quick summary I compiled of the suggested distinctions:
Web 1.0 Sites
(1992 – 2001)
“Web 1.0” refers retroactively to the time between when the World Wide Web was first released in 1992, and when the “dot-com bubble” burst in 2001.
- Static. Pages contain information that might be useful, but that does not change regularly.
- Not interactive. Visitors can visit, but cannot impact or contribute to, the site.
- Proprietary. Companies develop software applications that users can download, but the users can’t see how the application works or change it.
Web 2.0 Sites
- Dynamic. The site content is always changing and worth multiple visits. Example: a blog that owners can frequently update.
- Interactive. Visitors can contribute to the site. Example: wikis and Amazon.com’s customer reviews.
- Open source. The source code for the program is freely available, and users can see how the application works and make modifications or even build new applications based on earlier programs. Example: the Firefox browser provides developers with all the tools they need to create new Firefox applications.
Another major innovation of Web 2.0 is social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Social bookmarking sites like Digg and Technorati also make connections between people and information, and rely on large groups of people to create content. In addition, the concept of a semantic Web is building.
Web 3.0 Sites
(2012 – 2021?)
Web 3.0 is expected to take the concept of the semantic Web and build a sort of gigantic database of interconnecting information. Quoting the article “How Web 3.0 Will Work” linked above:
Internet experts think Web 3.0 is going to be like having a personal assistant who knows practically everything about you and can access all the information on the Internet to answer any question.
They give the following scenario:
Let’s say that you’re thinking about going on a vacation. You want to go someplace warm and tropical. You have set aside a budget of $3,000 for your trip. You want a nice place to stay, but you don’t want it to take up too much of your budget. You also want a good deal on a flight.
With the Web technology currently available to you, you’d have to do a lot of research to find the best vacation options. You’d need to research potential destinations and decide which one is right for you. You might visit two or three discount travel sites and compare rates for flights and hotel rooms. You’d spend a lot of your time looking through results on various search engine results pages. The entire process could take several hours.
According to some Internet experts, with Web 3.0 you’ll be able to sit back and let the Internet do all the work for you. You could use a search service and narrow the parameters of your search. The browser program then gathers, analyzes and presents the data to you in a way that makes comparison a snap. It can do this because Web 3.0 will be able to understand information on the Web.
Web 4.0 Sites
(2022 and beyond?)
And here’s what some experts envision after Web 3.0 is fully developed:
- Aesthetics and usability. Focus will return to the front end of Web sites after Web 3.0 reinvents the back end. Designers will be able to take advantage of new advanced capabilities of Web 3.0 browsers.
- 3D. The Web will evolve into a three-dimensional environment: the Web could become a digital landscape that incorporates the illusion of depth.
- Artificial intelligence. Some people believe the Web will be able to think by distributing the workload across thousands of computers and referencing deep ontologies.
- Mobility. Everything from watches to television sets to clothing will connect to the Internet. Users will have a constant connection to the Web.
- Blending. The Web will merge with other forms of entertainment until all distinctions between the forms of media are lost. Radio programs, television shows and feature films will rely on the Web as a delivery system.