The Road to Web 3.0

apprenticegunnerInternet and Web Development

Oct 22, 2013 (4 years and 6 months ago)


How Web 3.0 Will Work

Jonathan Strickland

The Road to Web 3.0

Out of all the

buzzwords and jargon that have made the transition to the public
consciousness, "
Web 2.0
" might be the best known. Even though a lot of people have heard
about it, not many have any idea what We
b 2.0 means. Some people claim that the term itself is
nothing more than a marketing ploy designed to convince venture capitalists to invest millions of
dollars into Web sites. It's true that when Dale Dougherty of O'Reilly Media came up with the
term, the
re was no clear definition. There wasn't even any agreement about if there was a

YouTube is an example of a Web 2.0

Other people insist that Web 2.0 is a reality. In brief, the ch
aracteristics of Web 2.0 include:

The ability for visitors to make changes to
Web pages

allows visitors to post
product reviews
. Using an online form, a visitor can add information to Amazon's pages
that future visitors will be able to read.

Using Web pages to link people to other users:
cial networking

sites like


are popular in part because they make it easy for users to find each other and
keep in touch.

Fast and efficient ways to share content:

is the perfect example. A YouTube
member can cre
ate a video and upload it to the site for others to watch in less than an

New ways to get information: Today, Internet surfers can subscribe to a Web page's
Really Simple Syndication

) feeds and receive notifications of that Web page's
updates a
s long as they maintain an Internet connection.

Expanding access to the Internet beyond the computer: Many people access the Internet
through devices like
cell phones

video game consoles
; before long, some experts
expect that consumers will access the Internet through

sets and other devices.

Think of
Web 1.0

as a library. You can use it as a source of information, but you can't contribute
to or change the information in any way.
Web 2.0

is more like a big group of friends and
acquaintances. You can still use it to receive information, but you also contribute to the
conversation and make it a richer experience.

While there are still many people tr
ying to get a grip on Web 2.0, others are already beginning to
think about what comes next. What will

Web 3.0 be like? How different will it be from the Web
we use today? Will it be a revolutionary shift, or will it be so subtle that we won't even notice t

What do Internet experts think the next generation of the World Wide Web will be like? Keep
reading to find out.

Web 3.0 Basics


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. Many compare Web 3.0 to a giant database. While Web 2.0 uses the Internet to make
ions between people, Web 3.0 will use the Internet to make connections with
information. Some experts see Web 3.0 replacing the current Web while others believe it will
exist as a separate network.


Planning a tropical getaway? Web 3.0 might help simplify your travel plans.

It's easier to get the concept with an example.
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 wan
t 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

pages. The entire proces
s could take several hours.

Your Life on the Web

If your Web 3.0 browser retrieves information for you based on
your likes and dislikes, could other people learn things about you
that you'd rather keep private by looking at your results? What if
performs an Internet search on you? Will your activities
on the Internet become public knowledge? Some people worry
that by the time we have answers to these questions, it'll be too
late to do anything about it.

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.

Right now, when you use a Web search engine, the engine isn't able to really understand your
search. It looks for Web pages that contain the

found in your s
earch terms. The search
engine can't tell if the Web page is actually relevant for your search. It can only tell that the
keyword appears on the Web page. For example, if you searched for the term "
," you'd end
up with results for Web pages about the planet and others about the


A Web 3.0 search engine could find not only the keywords in your search, but also interpret the

of your request. It would return relevant results and suggest other content related to your
search terms. In our vacation example, if you typed "tropical vacation destinations under $3,000"
as a search request, the Web 3.0 browser might include a list
of fun activities or great restaurants
related to the search results. It would treat the entire Internet as a massive database of
information available for any query.

How might Web 3.0 do this? Read on to find out.

Web 3.0 Approaches

You never know how fut
ure technology will eventually turn out. In the case of Web 3.0, most

experts agree about its general traits. They believe that Web 3.0 will provide users with
r and more relevant experiences. Many also believe that with Web 3.0, every user will have
a unique Internet

based on that user's browsing history. Web 3.0 will use this profile to
tailor the browsing experience to each individual. That means that
if two different people each
performed an Internet

with the same keywords using the same service, they'd receive
different results determined by their individual profiles.


Web 3.0 will likely plug into your individual tastes and browsing habits.

The technologies and

required for this kind of application aren't yet mature. Services


provide individualized content based on user input, but they both rely on
a trial
error approach that isn't as efficient as what the experts say Web 3.0 will be. More
importantly, both TiVO and Pandora have a limited scope

vision shows and music,

whereas Web 3.0 will involve all the information on the Internet.

Some experts believe that the foundation for Web 3.0 will be
application programming

). An API is an interface designed to allow devel
opers to create applications
that take advantage of a certain set of resources. Many Web 2.0 sites include APIs that give
programmers access to the sites' unique data and capabilities. For example,

allows developers to create programs that use Facebook as a staging ground for games, quizzes,
product reviews and more.

One Web 2.0 trend that could help the development of Web 3.0 is the
. A mashup is the
combination of two or
more applications into a single application. For example, a developer
might combine a program that lets users review restaurants with

Maps. The new mashup
application could show not only r
estaurant reviews, but also map them out so that the user could
see the restaurants' locations. Some Internet experts believe that creating mashups will be so easy
in Web 3.0 that anyone

will be able to

do it.


Widgets are small applications that people can insert into Web
pages by copying and embedding lines of code into a Web page's
code. They can be games, news feeds, video players or just about
anything else. Some Internet prognosticators believe that Web 3.0

will let users combine widgets together to make mashups by just
clicking and dragging a couple of icons into a box on a Web page.
Want an application that shows you where news stories are
happening? Combine a news feed icon with a
Google Earth

and Web 3.0 does the rest. How? Well, no one has quite figured
that part out yet.

Other experts think that Web 3.0 will start fresh. Instead of using HTML as the basic coding
language, it will r
ely on some new

and unnamed

language. These experts suggest it might be
easier to start from scratch rather than try to change the current Web. However, this version of
Web 3.0 is so theoretical that it's practically impossible to say how it will wor

The man responsible for the World Wide Web has his own theory of what the future of the Web
will be. He calls it the
Semantic Web
, and many Internet experts borrow heavily from his work
when talking about Web 3.0. What exactly is the Semantic Web? Keep reading to find out.

Making a Semantic Web

Tim Berners
Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He created it as an interface for the
Internet and a way for people to share information with one another. Berners
Lee disputes the
existence of
Web 2.0
, calling it nothing more than meaningless jargon [source:
Lee maintains that he intended the

World Wide Web to do all the things that Web 2.0 is
supposed to do.

Catrina Genovese/
Getty I

Tim Berners
Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web

Lee's vision of the future Web is similar to the concept of Web 3.0. It's called the
Semantic Web
. Right now, the Web's st
ructure is geared for humans. It's easy for us to visit a
Web page

and understand what it's all about. Computers can't do that. A
search engine

might be
able to scan for keywords, but it can't understand how those keywords are used in the context of
the page.

With the Semantic Web, computers will scan and interpret information on Web pages using
software agents
. These software
agents will be programs that crawl through the Web, searching
for relevant information. They'll be able to do that because the Semantic Web will have
collections of information called
. In terms of the Internet, an ontology is a file that

the relationships among a group of terms. For example, the term "cousin" refers to the
familial relationship between two people who share one set of grandparents. A Semantic Web
ontology might define each familial role like this:

Grandparent: A direct anc
estor two generations removed from the subject

Parent: A direct ancestor one generation removed from the subject

Brother or sister: Someone who shares the same parent as the subject

Nephew or niece: Child of the brother or sister of the subject

Aunt or unc
le: Sister or brother to a parent of the subject

Cousin: child of an aunt or uncle of the subject

For the Semantic Web to be effective, ontologies have to be detailed and comprehensive. In
Lee's concept, they would exist in the form of
. Me
tadata is information
included in the code for Web pages that is invisible to humans, but readable by computers.

Constructing ontologies takes a lot of work. In fact, that's one of the big obstacles the Semantic
Web faces. Will people be willing to put in

the effort required to make comprehensive ontologies
for their Web sites? Will they maintain them as the Web sites change? Critics suggest that the
task of creating and maintaining such complex files is too much work for most people.

On the other hand, so
me people really enjoy labeling or

Web objects and information.
Web tags categorize the tagged object or information. Several

include a tag option, making
it easy to classify journal entries under specific topics.
Photo sharing

sites like Flickr allow users
to tag pictures.

even has turned it into a game: Google Image Labeler pits two people
against each other in a labeling contest. Each player tries to create the largest number of relevant
tags for a series of images. According to some experts,
Web 3.0 will be able to search tags and
labels and return the most relevant results back to the user. Perhaps Web 3.0 will combine
Lee's concept of the Semantic Web with Web 2.0's tagging culture.

Even though Web 3.0 is more theory than reality, th
at hasn't stopped people from guessing what
will come next. Keep reading to learn about the far
flung future of the Web.

Beyond Web 3.0

Whatever we call the next generation of the Web, what will come after it? Theories range from
conservative predictions
to guesses that sound more like science fiction films.

David Paul Morris/
Getty Images

Otellini, CEO and President of Intel, discusses the increasing importance of mobile devices on the Web
at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show.

Here are just a few:

According to technology expert and entrepreneur Nova Spivack
, the development of the
Web moves in 10
year cycles. In the Web's first decade, most of the development
focused on the back end, or
, of the Web. Programmers creat
ed the

and code languages we use to make Web pages. In the second decade, focus
shifted to the front end and the era of
Web 2.0

began. Now people use Web pages as
platforms for other ap
plications. They also create mashups and experiment with ways to
make Web experiences more interactive. We're at the end of the Web 2.0 cycle now. The
next cycle will be Web 3.0, and the focus will shift back to the back end. Programmers
will refine the

infrastructure to support the advanced capabilities of Web 3.0
browsers. Once that phase ends, we'll enter the era of
Web 4.0
. Focus will return to the
front end, an
d we'll see thousands of new programs that use Web 3.0 as a foundation
Nova Spivack

The Web will evolve in
to a three
dimensional environment. Rather than a Web 3.0, we'll
see a Web 3D. Combining
virtual reality

elements with the persistent online worlds of
massively multiplayer online roleplaying games

(MMORPGs), the Web could become a
digital landscape that incorporates the illusion of depth. You'd navigate the Web either
from a first
person perspective or through a digital r
epresentation of yourself called an

(to learn more about an avatar's perspective, read
How the Avatar Machine

The Web will build on developments in
distributed computin

and lead to true
artificial intelligence
. In distributed computing, several computers tackle a large
processing job. Each computer handles a small part of the overall task. Some people
believe the Web will be able to think by distributing the workload across thousands of
computers and referencin
g deep ontologies. The Web will become a giant brain capable
of analyzing data and extrapolating new ideas based off of that information.

The Web will extend far beyond

cell phones
. Everything from watches to

sets to clothing will connect to the Internet. Users will have a constant
tion to the Web, and vice versa. Each user's software agent will learn more about
its respective user by electronically observing his or her activities. This might lead to
debates about the balance between individual privacy and the benefit of having a
sonalized Web browsing experience.

The Web will merge with other forms of entertainment until all distinctions between the
forms of media are lost.

programs, television shows and feature

films will rely on
the Web as a delivery system.

It's too early to tell which (if any) of these future versions of the Web will come true. It may be
that the real future of the Web is even more extravagant than the most extreme predictions. We
can only h
ope that by the time the future of the Web gets here, we can all agree on what to call it.

To learn more about Web 3.0 and other topics, take a gander at the links on the next page.