Web 3.0, or What's Next for the Web

July 13, 2009

Ok, so i'm fairly tech savvy and have a good understanding of what's going on in the tech world, but can someone maybe shed a little light on this web 3.0 thing? Fact/Fiction? Gimmick? -- Steven

I think it’s important not to get carried away by monikers, but terms like Web 2.0/3.0 are important at least for marketing purposes (i.e. your organization or service needs to take advantage of this), in that they relay a significant set of differences between older web services and a newer generation.

Where the retrospective Web 1.0 was about presenting information or offering goods for sale, Web 2.0 (to put it yet another way) is about incorporating sharing and collaboration into richer services that prioritize open standards and interoperability and leverage more powerful web development techniques.

It’s impossible to limit to where Web 3.0 ends so I’ll just refer broadly to what’s next.

  1. Structured (semantic) data. This is the most immediate one. The next wave of services will publish and consume structured data and objects, enabling more intelligent responses to our queries and more powerful, spontaneous mashups, where several services effortlessly come together to handle your request.

  2. P2P. The network infrastructure of the future is peer-to-peer. Think wide open Google App Engine or Amazon Web Services, no need for web hosting, or as Sun says "the Network is the Computer".

  3. Identity and trust. We'll move from IP addresses or individual "accounts" to a world wide identity. Your identity interacts with services and services interact with your identity. Forget countless profiles.

  4. The network is the application. All the above will enable greater standardization, the merging of this whole mess into a more intelligent (operating) system. Countless websites and duplicate interfaces will give way to information as you want to see it. Book your movie ticket without ever going to Fandango. Do a real estate search without ever going to Redfin or another silo. Rate everything, across the network, and see your friend's ratings. Think all these services minus the walls and in a streamlined interface.