The Future Of The Web is Web 3.0


Yesterday we started with an introduction to Web 2.0, and today as promised we will diverge just a little and speak about Web 3.0.

So why the image of the cheeseburger? Read on to find out…

First lets quickly compare Web 2.0 to Web 3.0

Web 2.0 Web 3.0
“The document web” “The data web”
Abundance of information Control of information
Controversial No less controversial
“The social web” “The intelligent web”
The second decade, 2000-9 The third decade, 2010-20
Google as catalyst Semantic web companies as catalyst
Wisdom of the crowds Wisdom of the expert
Mashups, fragmentation integration, new tools  
Search, search, search Why search, when you can find?
Google’s Pagerank algorithm Ontologies, semantic systems
Lawless, anarchic Standards, protocols, rules
Print and digital Digital above all else

So What Is Web 3.0?

The term, Web 3.0 aka Semantic Web was coined by Tim Berers-Lee, the man who invented the first WWW. The Semantic Web is an environment where searches are intelligent, machines can read a web page like you and I and put the information into its proper context.

Consider these two examples to better explain how Web 3.0 is supposed to work.

Example 1 – The Postage Stamp

I am a stamp collector, I have amassed a huge collection and as I built my collection I documented each stamp that I own. I now have tens of thousands of documents which I’ve finally catalogued and placed online. So how can I find a specific stamp? I simply search for it.

But I don’t want any stamp, I want something very specific. Remember that the search engines do a great job of documenting what’s out there. They capture keywords along with some other relavent information and that’s the end of it. They don’t really know or understand what the page is about.

So I want to search for all red stamps. What will I get?

  • Red Stamps
  • Stamps from Cambodia (Khmer Rouge)
  • Stamps from the Red Sea
  • Stamps from the Red Cross
  • Stamps with red dragons…

Get the picture? Not what I wanted, but the search engine can’t tell what I wanted.

What needs to be done is to describe the stamp, describe the DATA in a structured method.

You would have a database for stamps, countries, colours, stamp traders… you can then link all these databases together so that the data makes sense. So now if I query “all stamps that are red in color that were used in the USA between 1980 and 1990″ I should get much better results than what I can get right now.

Example 2 – Tim, Lucy, and The Semantic Web

The Semantic Web isn’t a new idea. This notion of a Web where machines can better read, understand, and process all that data floating through cyberspace—a concept many refer to as Web 3.0—first entered the public consciousness in 2001, when a story appeared in Scientific American. Coauthored by Berners-Lee, the article describes a world in which software “agents” perform Web-based tasks we often struggle to complete on our own.Resource:,2817,2319807,00.asp

The article begins with an imaginary girl named Lucy, whose mother has just been told by her doctor that she needs to see a specialist. “At the doctor’s office, Lucy instructed her Semantic Web agent through her handheld Web browser,” we read. “The agent promptly retrieved information about Mom’s prescribed treatment from the doctor’s agent, looked up several lists of providers, and checked for the ones in-plan for Mom’s insurance within a 20-mile radius of her home and with a rating of excellent on trusted rating services.”

That’s quite a mouthful, but it only begins to describe Berners-Lee’s vision of a future Web. Lucy’s Semantic Web agent can also check potential appointment times against her mother’s busy schedule, reschedule other appointments if need be, and more—all on its own, without help from Lucy. And Lucy is just one example. A Semantic Web agent could be programmed to do almost anything, from automatically booking your next vacation to researching a term paper.

How will this actually work? In Berners-Lee’s view, it involves a reannotation of the Web, adding all sorts of machine-readable metadata to the human-readable Web pages we use today (see “Questions of Semantics,” opposite). Six years after the Scientific American article, official standards describing this metadata are in place—including the Recourse Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL)—and they’re already trickling into real-world sites, services, and other tools. -Semantic Web metadata underpins Yahoo!’s new food site. Spivack’s Radar Networks is building a kind of Semantic Web portal.

So Web 3.0 is the smart web. I remember reading about software agents (or bots) years ago. Bots were supposed to be the ideal personal assistant. They could schedule your meetings at work, figure out what you needed for groceries and plan your day for your family all the while optimizing the order in which things needed to get done.

But Web 3.0 is also to bring about technological changes, such as high-speed, always-on connections. The ability to access the Internet from anywhere (we are slowly getting there), software as a service (for example Google Docs).

Another great resource with multiple presentations: I have not presented the information found in the presentations, you are better off viewing the them after going over the overview that is presented here.

A Bunch Of Web 3.0 Resources

When we talk about some of the other technological changes, such as high-speed, always available internet – we are already getting there we are even getting to a more portable Internet thanks to smart phones – you know, devices such as the Apple iPhone, RIM BlackBerry, Samsung BlackJack and the many more similar devices out there.

When it comes to devices, although you don’t get a true experience you have the ability to perform simple tasks – so you are connected all the time. What will vastly improve internet access via phones is further reductions in the cost to purchase devices, shorter contract terms and better rates.

The other change is software as a service. I also remember reading about this years ago, and seem to recollect a discussion that was perhaps initiated by Microsoft that at some point in the future people would no longer purchase MS WORD or Excel but would lease it or use it on an as-need basis and pay-per-use. However we’ve seen that model come to fruition except that it’s FREE – think Google Docs. We’ve also seen applications like Open Office which compete directly with Microsofts Office suite of products. Having used these products I can tell that they are as good as Microsofts – though I do miss the look and feel of the Microsoft products. In the end you can’t beat FREE.

The web is going through a lot of changes. We are seeing more sites adopt video, we are seeing the entertainment industry slowly adopt and accept video and allow visitors to watch television shows on-line. This does eat into their profits somewhat as some will no longer want to purchase an entire season if all they want to watch are one or two episodes.

This will force the industry to look at new ways to monetize their expensive content – it may be through more product placements within the programming. But it won’t come down to users paying for the content. It’s being proven that this does not work, and only causes more outrage.

What do you expect from Web 3.0? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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About Rob 'n Mo

I'm a man of mystery. I like anonymity, but on the WWW there is not much of it...
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