Web 3.0? Maybe when we get there.

John Markoff just published a story in the Times about the future of the web, suggesting that “From the billions of documents that form the World Wide Web and the links that weave them together, computer scientists and a growing collection of start-up companies are finding new ways to mine human intelligence.” If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I totally agree that building systems that combine human and machine intelligence is a huge part of the oncoming future.

But I was surprised to see Markoff referring to this as “Web 3.0”, when that very fact is the heart of what we’ve been calling Web 2.0. Markoff limits Web 2.0 to “the ability to seamlessly connect applications (like geographic mapping) and services (like photo-sharing) over the Internet,” which seems rather surprising to me, given that “harnessing collective intelligence” has been a key part of the Web 2.0 definition from the beginning.

That being said, we’re a long way from the full realization of the potential of intelligent systems, and there will no doubt be a tipping point where the systems get smart enough that we’ll be ready to say, “this is qualitatively different. Let’s call it Web 3.0.”