Many people who have a thing of two to say about Web 3.0 would confidently say Web 3.0 is already here with us. To them, a better topic should have reflected how the present Web would look like in the coming years.
There is no clear unambiguous definition for Web 3.0. That is why it is just a simple term while being complicated at the same time. This is thanks to the inability to nail down a concise definition for it.
The best way to define it is to look at what came before: Web 2.0 and Web 1.0. Web 1.0 is the pioneer Web experience. Its significant characteristic was that people just read content online without giving any meaningful feedback. It was just like reading books online.
Web 2.0 was underlined by user’s interaction with websites. With Web 2.0, users could read content and give feedback to the website instantly. Online users could also interact among themselves either through websites or through other web-based applications. Web 2.0 is the social Web; just think of web forums like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and other forums where people exchange information constantly.
So it is clear Web 3.0 is going to go beyond what Web 2.0 is all about. The next evolution of the Web must have one of these two aspects of the world wide web: how websites are created and how people interact with websites.
Evolutionary trends in the digital age
It was through Dale Dougherty (O’Reilly Media’s Vice President) in 2003, that the world was first introduced to the strange (at least at that time) phrase, Web 2.0. A year later, everybody who wanted to be known as an expert on tech trends started using it regularly.
So assuming Web 2.0 became official in 2004, it meant it took roughly a decade to transit from Web 1.0 to the next phase. Following that trend, Web 3.0 should have been with us since last year. Or even earlier.
Because one of the drivers of the new Web, the ‘Internet of Things‘ or IoT for short, has been with us for a while now. And for about two years now, IoT devices and gadgets are starting to become ubiquitous.
The Web 3.0 landscape
The Web 3.0 environment is all about interconnected gadgets and devices using the IoT architecture. IoT as a concept is frightening to many people. No thanks to several Hollywood doomsday films about how computers or robots would take over the world in the future.
In an IoT compliant world, every gadget or device is connected to and can communicate independently with other gadgets and devices. They are programmed that way and don’t need human input.
For instance, in the world of IoT, a faulty dishwater can connect to the Internet automatically and contact the manufacturer’s server and inform them of the fault. If the problem is software-related, an automatic upgrade would be effected without the owner ever being aware of it.
If it were a hardware problem on the other hand, the manufacturer’s server would diagnose the problem, get a solution, then automatically dispatch a technician to your house to fix your dishwater. All done without any input from you the owner.
It is an exciting world. And it is a world where the only variable that remains to make it a complete Web 3.0 is the participation of humans. Because for now, only electronic devices, like virtual reality personal assistants ( Amazon Echo and Google Home are good two examples) are fully involved.
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Humans and Web 3.0
Though participation by man in the exciting IoT world is very limited, the signs are very encouraging. Some of the ways in which we actively participate are:
Virtual reality headsets help us to communicate intuitively with websites. The industry, as to be expected is still evolving.
Take for instance shopping online, in the Web 3.0 world, one can walk into a virtual shopping mall to make purchases. You can even meet and talk with other shoppers in the virtual world as you do in real life.
Or my favorite, I can get to visit the football stadium of my favorite club to watch a live match while still being physical at home thousands of miles away.
Perhaps, the term global village would soon become obsolete as a full-fledged Web 3.0 would shrink the world even further
We are beginning to see the signs of these on the Internet. For example, what is known as social bookmarking has proven to be better than Google Search results.
Social bookmarking based their algorithm on the experiences of Web users to bring up search results. These are smart machines that sense keenly what people love and their habits and aggregate them intelligently.
The future for utilizing artificial intelligence through social bookmarking is exciting. It doesn’t mean Google Search would become extinct. As a matter of fact, we see Google Search evolving in that direction. It is not for fun that Google has been investing huge sums in the development of artificial intelligence.
Smart online marketers have already seized the moment. To this set of people, they are not going to wait for a worldwide consensus on whether the nextweb is here or not. They are already cashing in.
Already we are seeing products and services tagged with the ‘Web 3.0‘ label. in the minds of consumers, this gives the impression the product or service is way ahead of the competition.
The light bulb moment
The world is not going to wake up one day and declare the advent of Web 3.0 as if a light just lit up to illuminate the dark tunnel instantly.
Like evolution, things like Web 3.0 creep in on us. 20 years from now, we might look back and start worrying about the demarcation line between 2.0 and 3.0. That is because in two decades, it is very likely the world is fully Web 3.0 compliant; so the only recourse left is for tech historians to figure out when it started.
At that time, the talk would be about Web 4.0 and like this piece is doing, the big question becomes, ‘Is the world already in the latest phase of the information age?’
The point here is simple; there would never be an ‘Aha!’ moment. Life would go on blissfully. People would start using the tech gadgets the big companies present to us as the next big thing.
And of course, people would stop using some tech devices because those same companies consider them obsolete. As in everything else, consumerism and advances in technology would gently usher in the era of Web 3.0.