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Today's Web 3.0 Nonsense Blogstorm

If Web 2.0 was so hot, how about Web 3.0? This has been a recurrent theme of would-be meme-engineers who want to position their startup as the next big thing. Nova Spivack started it by describing the as-yet-to-be-revealed Radar Networks as Web 3.0, but now Jason Calacanis has his competing definition, neatly tailored to fit his own mahalo.com. The resulting storm of derision is entirely to be expected.

Now, I of all people should be hesitant to say “Web 3.0 is a stupid idea” because of course, that same criticism was leveled at “Web 2.0.” But there are a couple of important distinctions:

  1. Web 2.0 started out as the name of a conference! And that name had a very specific purpose: to signify that the web was roaring back after the dot com bust! The 2.0 bit wasn’t about the technology, but about the resurgence of interest in the web. When we came up with the idea back in 2003, a lot of programmers were out of work, and there was a general lack of interest in web applications. But we saw a resurgence coming, and designed a conference to tell the story of what was going to be different this time.

  2. I then spent some serious time trying to identify the characteristics of companies that had survived the dotcom bust and the best of the new companies and sites I saw coming up. That paper, What is Web 2.0?, was a retrospective description based on a broad swath of successful companies, not tailor-made for a single company or project that has yet to make its mark.

So for starters, I’d say that for “Web 3.0″ to be meaningful we’ll need to see a serious discontinuity from the previous generation of technology. That might be another bust and resurgence, or more likely, it will be something qualitatively different. I like Stowe Boyd’s musings on the subject:

Personally, I feel the vague lineaments of something beyond Web 2.0, and they involve some fairly radical steps. Imagine a Web without browsers. Imagine breaking completely away from the document metaphor, or a true blurring of application and information. That’s what Web 3.0 will be, but I bet we will call it something else.

I’m with Stowe. There’s definitely something new brewing, but I bet we will call it something other than Web 3.0. And it’s increasingly likely that it will be far broader and more pervasive than the web, as mobile technology, sensors, speech recognition, and many other new technologies make computing far more ambient than it is today.

But in any event, the next meme to take hold will be broad based, with many proof points, each showing another aspect of the discontinuity. Anyone who says his startup is the sign of this next revolution is just out of touch.

I find myself particularly irritated by definitions of “Web 3.0″ that are basically descriptions of Web 2.0 (i.e. new forms of collective intelligence applications) that justify themselves as breakthroughs only by pretending that Web 2.0 is somehow about ajax, mashups, and other client side technologies. For example, see Nova Spivack’s post today in response to Jason’s:

Web 3.0, in my opinion is best defined as the third-decade of the Web (2010 – 2020), during which time several key technologies will become widely used. Chief among them will be RDF and the technologies of the emerging Semantic Web. While Web 3.0 is not synonymous with the Semantic Web (there will be several other important technology shifts in that period), it will be largely characterized by semantics in general.

Web 3.0 is an era in which we will upgrade the back-end of the Web, after a decade of focus on the front-end (Web 2.0 has mainly been about AJAX, tagging, and other front-end user-experience innovations.)

I have some sympathy with Nova’s attempt to rescue the Web 3.0 term by tying it to a timeline rather than to any particular technology (Windows 95 anyone?), but I find the idea that Web 2.0 is about “front end” technologies to be so ridiculous as to discredit the whole idea. Google is the pre-eminent Web 2.0 success story, and it’s all back-end! Every major web 2.0 play is a back-end story. It’s all about building applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them–and you can only do that with a richer back end. Nova is right that Semantic Web technologies may come increasingly into play in some sites, but I don’t think that’s a given.

As I wrote in a comment on Nova’s blog:

Alas, I find the Web 3.0 arguments as clear evidence that the proponents don’t understand Web 2.0 at all. Web 2.0 is not about front end technologies. It’s precisely about back-end, and it’s about meaning and intelligence in the back end.

The real difference between Web 2.0 and the semantic web is that the Semantic Web seems to think we need to add new kinds of markup to data in order to make it more meaningful to computers, while Web 2.0 seeks to identify areas where the meaning is already encoded, albeit in hidden ways. E.g. Google found meaning in link structure (a natural RDF triple); Wesabe is finding it in spending patterns.

There are sites (geni.com comes to mind) that create narrow-purpose cases where people add structured meaning, and I think we’ll find lots more of these. But I think that the big difference is in the amount of noise you accept in your meaningful data, and whether you think grammar evolves from data or is imposed upon it. Web 2.0 applications are fundamentally statistical in nature, collective intelligence as derived from lots and lots of input at global scale.

See my various posts on Web 2.0 vs. the Semantic Web.

Meanwhile, Web 2.0 was a pretty crappy name for what’s happening (Microsoft’s name, Live Software, is probably the best term I’ve seen), so I don’t see why we’d want to increment it to Web 3.0. But when people ask me what I think Web 3.0 will be, I don’t think of the semantic web at all.

What are things that will give a qualitative leap beyond what we experience today?

I think it’s the breaking of the keyboard/screen paradigm, and the world in which collective intelligence emerges not from people typing on keyboards but from the instrumentation of our activities.

In this sense, I’d say that Wesabe and Mint, which turn our credit card into a sensor telling us about tracks we’re leaving in the real world, or Jaiku, which turns our phone into a sensor for a smart address book, or Norwich Union’s “Pay as you drive” insurance, are more early signals of something I’d call “Web 3.0″ than Semantic Web applications are.

Let’s just call the Semantic Web the Semantic Web, and not muddy the water by trying to call it Web 3.0, especially when the points of contrast are actually the same points that I used to distinguish Web 2.0 from Web 1.5. (I’ve always said that Web 2.0 = Web 1.0, with the dot com bust being a side trip that got it wrong.)

Nova did have a great response to this comment, which he sent to me in email, and which I reproduce here with his permission:

I would actually say that I agree with much of what you state in your comment on my post. EXCEPT for one thing. The Semantic Web is completely orthogonal to the issue of collective intelligence. It can in fact be used as a better backend for existing “Web 2.0″ folksonomies, or it could be used for expert systems — it is not just a top-down framework.

It would not be technically correct to say that Semantic Web is not about statistics or that it is not about deriving structure from what is already there in the data — The Semantic Web is just a way of encoding whatever it is that you know (it could have been derived, or not).

So you could use statistics, or mining, or the wisdom of crowds, to markup data — but then where do you store and share what you have learned about that data? The Semantic Web proposes a richer framework for storing and publishing that metadata. It is completely independent of how the metadata is generated. It’s just a better way to share that metadata.

Using string tags and microformats, or XML tags for that mater, are just different ways of marking up data. RDF and OWL are also just different ways of marking up data — but they are BETTER ways of doing it. They have much more power, they are more open, they are more extensible, they support bottom-up collective intelligence better in fact.

This is why I propose that if we MUST use ridiculous terms like Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, then let’s not tie them to a particular technology. Let’s just tie them to decades, in which many technologies happen together.

Let’s face it the world is not as cut-and-dried as people would like to make it seem. RDF started in Web 1.0 in fact!!!

I think that there is a distinct difference in the structure of the Web over time however. RDF enables us to move the Web from a file-server to something more like a database. It enables a web of data. It does for data what hypertext does for text — I call that hyperdata. This is certainly something new and very useful, but it will depend on what people ultimately do with it.

At Radar we are taking a Web 2.0 approach to Web 3.0. Essentially we are making use of user-generated content and the wisdom of crowds, as well as statistical analysis, mining and machine learning. Combined we have something much more powerful than either on its own: a true platform for collective intelligence. The fact that we happen to store the data using the Semantic Web is a convenience — it makes our data more extensible and reusable by others. But ultimately the data itself comes from users.

Some of this makes sense to me. He’s certainly right that the Semantic Web may prove very useful for many classes of intelligent applications. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as my mother used to say.

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  • http://dasht-exp-1a.com Thomas Lord

    Web 3.0, much as even I would like to claim the term, will be just what you say Web 2.0 was: a retrospective recognition of a phase shift.

    We can only gamble about what it will turn out to be.

    -t

  • Peter de Laat

    “But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as my mother used to say.”

    Yes, but as you keep reminding us: “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet”. So Nova Spivack might already be in Web 3.0. (I am personally at Web 4.0, but you guys need to wait a little before you get there)

    But seriously, we need to wait and see what he comes up with. He certainly has succeeded in making me very curious.

  • http://searchengines.wordpress.com/ Search‚ò∏ Engines WEB

    The next evolution of the Web will require an evolution of The Internet and of computing power to be fully effective.

    Possibly, the next stage of the Web would be robotics – The Web as an intelligent ‘software robot’ that enhances everyday productivity. Expediting Human problem solving and automatically anticipating individual or group needs.

    The key is ANTICIPATING – based on previous behaviors of individuals or groups – then automatically PUSHING likely solutions before or immediately as needs arise.

    Aesthetically, a 3D experience along with a complete sensual experience will probably be virtualized for Entertainment.

    Finally – complete mobility – to allow for uncompromised usage and real time global communication and tracking under virtually all circumstances.

    Ultimately perhaps, just as the Web itself proved to be a preferred software and business model to Gopher, there will be another effort that will be far superior to The World Wide Web but integrate with it to allow for a far superior experience.

  • http://vanelsas.wordpress.com Alexander van Elsas

    Hi Tim, excellent article. Personally I believe that what is called “web 2.0″ now, has some serious flaws. In my opinion most web 2.0 platforms will not be sustainable in the end because they were essentially not build to provide true value to its users, but instead they were build to create en leverage the value of a large network! As an example, think about Facebook. The problem with it is that because it is a free service Facebook needs to monetize it using ads (and it is essentially a walled garden). While Google can easily get away with that in search (if I am looking for something, ads are not too annoying), this won’t do on Facebook. People spend most of their time looking at other users profiles, or updating their own. Ad pressure will become an harassment, and if the user gets less value than he puts into it, they will dissapear in the end.
    So, next generation services need to take cae of a number of things:
    1) My profile is my interaction, not the thing I edit to make me look better than I am, interaction is the game
    2) Focus on user value, not on network value
    3) create open systems, no walled gardens. Twitter should simply be an easy way to microblog across any social network or service, a commodity for all.
    4) new monetization schemes will be needed as providing a “free” service often leads to unwanted ad pressure on the user.
    If interested I wrote an artice about this earlier:
    http://vanelsas.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/the-flaws-in-web-20-and-how-to-correct-them/

    I would also like to point you to the work of Jonathan Harris. He has found some really amazing ways to collect and visualize data that might overcome the browser and document metaphore now:
    http://vanelsas.wordpress.com/2007/09/26/following-the-emotions-of-millions-of-people/

  • Andrew Merryweather

    If, with hindsight, we do one day define a 3rd phase of the web, perhaps its defining characteristic will be its lack of definability.

    There seems to be a quantity-boom going on as the web 2.0 space, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, fills with community-leveraging startups. But there’s a diversity boom as well, a continual blurring into new territories.

    At some point we probably will give this process a name, but it seems a shame to do it now. Names tend to shape and constrain; maybe we should just sit back and let things run for a while?

  • http://dannyayers.com Danny

    “the Semantic Web may prove very useful for many classes of intelligent applications” – yup, and as it’s an extension of the Web, for many classes on not-so-intelligent applications too…

  • http://blog.thecapacity.org Jay

    Tim,
    I think that’s a great basis for cutting through the hype. Reading your article, what struck me most about the “goal” of Web 3.0 was a sense of “pervasiveness” or even “ubiquity”.

    I think Web 3.0 won’t be about technology. It will be about the social impact we’ll see once technologies are integrated and commonplace beyond a select group.

    Like when cars became necessities rather then simply luxuries and the resultant societal shift.

  • http://scienceoftheinvisible.blogspot.com/ AJ Cann

    I agree with the back end analysis, and said so back in August:
    http://scienceoftheinvisible.blogspot.com/2007/08/eric-schmidt-defines-web-30.html

  • Vic

    When Web 3.0 comes, it will be called something different than Web 3.0 and go beyond the Web; beyond the Web browser.

    It will be on your phone, in your credit cards, in your car, embedded in your home’s appliances, maybe even on/in your body.

    Our “real world” lives will come to enjoy the same conveniences and speed that our on line lives do – except we probably won’t be flying around like on SL. Our cars, however, will know where to go and how to get there without our intervention. Your doctor will know what you’ve been eating and how much exercise you’ve been getting when you sit down in his waiting room and are automatically checked in.

    Individuals will become their own data sources; reflected back at them through a myriad of product, service and information offerings based on that data and how it interacts with the constantly changing variables of our “real world” lives.

  • http://tumblr.leftmostbit.com Luigi Montanez

    I agree with Nova’s assessment on the Radar Networks landing page that the next phase is the “Intelligent Web”. Tim O’Reilly originally used that term to describe Web 2.0 (because intelligence was given by the people using the technology). But when I see the term “Intelligent Web”, I think of intelligence from web services themselves, aided by Semantic Web standards.

    I look at it as the equation: Social Web + Semantic Web = Intelligent Web. So maybe Web 2.0 + Web 3.0 = Web 4.0? Or maybe not.

    FWIW, here’s Seth Godin’s take on Web 3.0 and Web 4.0.

  • http://novaspivack.typepad.com Nova Spivack

    I’ve blogged a detailed response here:

    http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2007/10/from-social-web.html

    But let me address some factual errors in this post above that should be corrected. The term “Web 3.0″ was NOT originated by me (Nova Spivack). In fact, it was originated by Jeffrey Zeldman, Tim Berners-Lee, Reed Hastings, and John Markoff.

    The first time I ever heard the term was in John Markoff’s New York Times Article on the Intelligent Web. My contribution has just been to try to define the term as something reasonable — a decade characterized by a range of technologies that are coming to the fore — since no other definition seems to make any sense. I would encourage you to read the Wikipedia page on the subject for a more detailed history.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_3

  • http://www.semanticfocus.com James Simmons

    This entry is entirely relevant, I think your readers will like it: http://www.semanticfocus.com/blog/entry/title/where-do-you-stand-on-web-30/

  • http://dasht-exp-1a.com Thomas Lord

    Here’s a limb… lemme see what’s at the far end:

    Web 3.0 will be about cloud computing and overlay networks. A defining characteristic will be that for many uses of the web, hostnames fade away into the background and are replaced by service names.

    That is, location-aware clients will suss out the nearest gateways to certain service networks and address requests to service names. Those will be routed to instances and/or service instances provisioned on the fly. Aggregating applications will self-organize in “the cloud” with instances finding each other through service-addressed overlay networks.

    The key enabling technology is to have a system for defining a service separately from creating a system image that boots that service — that is, when web service applications become first-class web documents that can be sent around and instantiated wherever they happen to land and be needed. The web becomes a new kind of virtual machine and web services are executables that can run on it.

    My newly released xqvm is a good foundation for that new kind of web virtual machine.

    -t

  • Dave

    While I think this post has some very valid points, I think you are falling victim to labels as much as anyone whom you critique above.

    If 95+% of the population says Web 2.0 == AJAX, then it is. Having sour grapes because front-end folks usurped your term doesn’t add much. Only the educated pronouce Van Gogh’s name properly, too. Go ahead and feel superior if you’d like.

    Labelling the web really isn’t all that interesting, anyway.
    Talking about possibilities is fascinating. Mocking startups who think AJAX == money is also quite entertaining. Why don’t we all stick to the content of these discussions, and stop caring what the huddled masses chooses to call it?

  • http://joeduck.wordpress.com Joe Duck

    Tim – great insights as usual. At MS MIX last year we briefly spoke about how online applications would some day use the oceans of data that go largely unnoticed/unprocessed such
    as GIS data streams from millions of vehicles.
    *
    I do think Web 3.0 is a viable term if it is used to describe the transition from the highly socialized but data-weak state of affairs to fully integrated and turbocharged applications – perhaps the point where we literally give up the driver’s seat to AI applications.

  • http://joeduck.wordpress.com Joe Duck

    Tim – great insights as usual. At MS MIX last year we briefly spoke about how online applications would some day use the oceans of data that go largely unnoticed/unprocessed such
    as GIS data streams from millions of vehicles.
    *
    I do think Web 3.0 is a viable term if it is used to describe the transition from the highly socialized but data-weak state of affairs to fully integrated and turbocharged applications – perhaps the point where we literally give up the driver’s seat to AI applications.

  • http://www.broadstuff.com alan p

    We always defined Web 2.0 as Web 1.0 on broadband :)

    In our view the Semantic Web will be executed initially in narrow vertical areas where it is possible to limit the possible range of definitions to a manageable numbers – EDI rather than W3C

  • AT

    The whole term “web 2.0″ kills me a little inside every time I hear it. I guess it’s because I am surrounded by those who, before the term was used, had nothing to do with the web. Now they are taking the internet and the technology that I love and creating horrible evil things with it.

  • http://www.psychoticape.uni.cc Psychotic Ape

    Web 2.0 as he mentioned was about showing that their was a rebound effect occurring with the tech sector, but Web 3.0 is just a way of raising hype over something that already exists (which in many ways is true of web 2.0).

  • Anonymous

    i maintain that the term “web” is stupid

  • John Koo

    web 3.0 already?

  • John Koo

    web 3.0 already?

  • Anonymous

    Not invented here

  • http://mazzaroth.ca Edouard Boily

    Web 1.0: Read
    Web 2.0: Write
    Web 3.0: Execute

  • steve

    Ah, it’s happened. As you probably won’t remember, I wrote in comments on here that “Web 2.0″ as a term would be dead by the end of this year.

    As far as the next generation goes, again I’ll stand by my earlier prediction… it’s hardware based virtual machines. And I’ll point to Flash 10 as proof.

    As you can see:

    http://www.peterelst.com/blog/2007/10/03/adobe-max-chicago-sneak-peeks

    Flash uses the LLVM layer to allow C/C++ (as well as OpenGL ES style shaders – something else I predicted too), enabling them to compile Quake and Ruby and anything in C or C++.

    How is this safe? It is not covered in the videos, but the only way I can see this being done is to sandbox with hardware. Machine level compiles need machine level sandboxing.

    So how many more accurate predictions do I need to make for guru status? :)

    Steve.

    PS. For free, I’ll throw in the prediction that SaaS will die, and be replaced by customer hosted virtual machines (eg, every customer will be their own data-centre).

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Edouard: I like that!

    Except we should add that it’s rwxrwxrwx…

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Anonymous –

    That’s why I said I of all people should be hesitant to make this statement. I acknowledge the incongruity.

  • http://bikinicute.blogspot.com Marlin Taroreh

    Web 2.0 is for extroverts, as Introvert I found this whole idea of sociability of Internet extremely annoying.

  • http://www.j2fi.net/ „Ç∏„Ç߄ǧ„ÇΩ„É≥ (Jason)

    I’ll admit that Radar Networks’ plans do sound interesting, and there is quite a bit of potential with the semantic web technologies, but I don’t think it’s Web 3.0. Web 2.5, perhaps … but even that’s pushing it.

  • http://derek.abdinor.co.za derek

    Web 2.0 is the realisation of the internet’s potential, that survived a hiccup 7 years ago.

    All those crazy articles in Business 2.0 about web-enabled refrigerators, news feeds on mobile phones: realised now.

    @Edouard, can’t beat that analogy, but consider this

    Web 1.0 = World War 1
    Dot-bomb = Great Depression
    Web 2.0 = WW2
    next bust = cold war (stockpiling and silent accumulation by big players)
    Web 3.0 = a general universal peace and advancement of the ideals of the Enlightenment

    Making analogies to war is not ideal, I use it to indicate the level of DISRUPTION ( I use this on corp clients who get it better).

  • http://www.stirr.net Sanford Barr

    Amen. Mike Lowe (IFTF) summed it up nicely in June last year “Everytime someone says Web 3.0 a startup dies”. Here’s a picture of Sean Ness wearing the T-shirt they made: http://hubber.blogspot.com/2006/06/web-30-kills-startups.html

  • http://what-is-what.com/what_is/web_2.0.html What is Web 2.0?

    Web 2.0 is about the application of ideas, not the technology behind that application. Web 3.0 is ++Web, a stupid analogy by people who value buzzwords over actual benefit.

  • http://www.5thwind.com Lionel Laratte

    Good article. It’s interesting is that, as computing has become network-oriented, so have we as humans. The underlying technologies aside, a good question may be whether or not, as the semantic Web comes our way, we, too, will become more semantic. That is, will we, too look at characteristics and relationships as information to segment our lives or create new products?

    For example, if I lead a very busy life and I play tennis as a hobby (characteristics), I can use this as a basis for starting a “speed tennis” league (relationship). As members join, I can add to their known characteristics (married, number of children, average household income, etc.) and thereby create new products based on new relationships. An example might be to create father/son and father/daughter tennis leagues.

    I guess what I’m saying is that, as we continue to make computing more useful to us, the technology changes us by enhancing our ability to be social.

    Is it possible that Web 3.0 will be about “enhanced” networks that use characteristics to create “smart” relationships? I’m not much for labels but it’s an interesting thought.

    Thanks for the article; it has sparked some thinking.

  • http://www.ivovic.net Milorad Ivovic

    Lets face it, defending the way Web2.0 is generally used, while proclaiming how ridiculous Web3.0 is, is just plain stupid in itself.

    The term Web2.0 developed a life of its own, not your fault… but I think if you want to be taken seriously you should distance yourself from it as much as you would 3.0… they’re both as ridiculous as each other.

    Front-end… back-end… profile… web2.0 wasn’t born overnight, and hence can’t be referred to as a philosophy. What people identify as web2.0 today, are things which have been on the rise since Cern let HTML out into the wild. These are tiny micro-steps with which the community has progressed, if it exists, then so does web 1.99, web 1.98, etc… It’s painfully obvious how stupid referring to anything as ‘being web 2.0′ actually is.

    People have embraced this terminology because they don’t want to be seen as being left behind, they’re perpetuating stupidity because people like you guys here keep talking about it as if it actually exists. If you have the power to influence trends, then you should exercise it responsibly, rather than creating a marketing frenzy based on ‘a cute idea at the time’ and nothing with any basis to it whatsoever.

    Thanks for allowing me the space in your web2.0 in order to say this.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_3 Founder of Web 3.0 Company

    “Anyone who says his startup is the sign of this next revolution is just out of touch. “

    Be careful in your use of absolutes. Someone will start a startup, or perhaps already has, that will be or is a sign of this revolution, whatever web 3.0 is or will be. This founder then, will not be out of touch in saying that her startup is such a sign.

    To put web versions in decades denies the exponential rate of change occurring in technology.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Milorad –

    I hear you. I’ve started using the term “collective intelligence applications” whenever possible, to distinguish from other ideas in the “web 2.0″ cluster, such as mashups, ajax, and the internet as platform. However, I do believe that collective intelligence (i.e. applications that get better through network effects) is the defining characteristic of this era, whether you call it Web 2.0 or something else. My whole effort from the beginning of the web has been to try to make clear what seems to me to matter about it…

    That being said, the real reason that I find myself a bit miffed about the various definitions of Web 3.0 is that they are actually the same as my original definition of Web 2.0, and as I said, justify themselves by denying that definition, and saying that “Web 2.0 is just…” Of course, Tim B-L felt the same way about Web 2.0, and he was right — everything in Web 2.0 was implicit in Web 1.0. Which is why I’ve tended to emphasize Web 2.0 as a return to a deeper understanding of the web after the detour (Web 1.5?) that was represented by the dot com era.

    Founder — do you think Larry and Sergey said, “Google is the start of the next big stage of the computer industry” when they started? I doubt it. And folks who were there before Google (whose page rank and ad auction in which the top result *doesn’t* go to the highest bidder, but to the best combination of bid and demand were as good a mark as any to distinguish the rise of Web 2.0, with their IPO being the starting gun of the current mania) surely didn’t say that.

    To be sure, there are always folks who are calling things ahead of the curve (e.g. Sun’s “the network is the computer,” but even there, they were thinking LANs), but I still think it’s hubris to say, “I’ve got it, I’m the next big thing.”

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Nova –

    Apologies for the misattribution. I thought John Markoff told me that it was you who’d originally suggested the term. On querying him, he says it was actually Dan Gillmor (not the folks you mentioned.)

    As to your idea that there’s a revolution coming in back-end processing of meaningful information, much of it represented by semantic web technologies, you may be right. And I hope that there will be breakthroughs there. But I’ll note two things:

    1. The most advanced web 2.0 properties are actually NOT just using traditional databases. Look at Google’s BigTable and MapReduce. They developed technologies for dealing with massive amounts of data that have in many ways gone in a very different direction than the Semweb.

    2. Improvements in the back end don’t seem sufficient, in and of themselves, to constitute a real revolution. Think Clayton Christenson. Web 2.0 is not a new technology. It’s the rise of the Web and its potential to centrality in the computer industry. It’s a platform shift.

    Web 3.0 (though I doubt it will be called that) will also be a platform shift, not just an incremental improvement to the web.

    That’s why I think it has much more to do with sensors (cell phone, camera, GPS, and special purpose sensors) and the rise of a kind of ambient computing.

  • http://www.ivovic.net Milorad Ivovic

    Thanks for your response Tim, and having read back over my earlier comment, I’d like to make sure I state something which slipped my mind as my blood boiled at seeing yet another version number…

    I do feel it’s important to refer to trends, especially when a large part of your job is to discuss them, and I don’t really want to chastise you for that, despite the tone of my previous post (sorry).

    The trouble of course, is a good headline. Often headlines or tag phrases bear little relevance to the discussion at hand, and this is one of those situations. Really my gripe is with those who use decidedly Web1.0 methods to increase sales under the Web2.0 banner.

    Their customers don’t know what it is, because it doesn’t really exist – at least not in the way that every man and his dog is selling it.

    Every parent wishes they used contraception when their children run wild, and I applaud you for recognising that with regard to the uncontrollable little wretch named Web2.0. :)

    I suppose I’m fortunate that nobody cares enough to take my gut feelings and run with them wildly, and I certainly respect how difficult it is to give form to concepts still in gestation. Thanks for keeping it entertaining, at least :)

  • http://www.ivovic.net Milorad Ivovic

    my objections to the terminology aside, web2.0 isn’t nearly done yet. I think that what people are starting to describe as web3.0 is merely a case of them taking a couple of years to understand what ‘web 2.0′ is supposed to be.

    It’ll be another few years before those same people actually implement anything remotely resembling web2.0.

    A lot of time passes before people unshackle their thinking. People have a tendency to keep methodology long past it’s use-by date, which is why almost always takes new entrants into the industry to really shake things up.

    (I really should stop monopolising the comments here)

  • http://www.cloudsoup.com David Jones

    ‘Web 2.0 started out as the name of a conference! ‘

    No it didn’t and you know it:

    http://www.news.com/2008-1082_3-5056441.html

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Milorad — to your first comment — thanks. To your second (just above) — I agree. The real meaning of Web 2.0 is just sinking in for many people.

    I recently had a meeting with some senior people at McKinsey. One of them said, “I have a completely new understanding now of what Web 2.0 is.” I’ve been seeing that light bulb go off more and more, as the ideas are indeed sinking in.

    And that really is why I find the Web 3.0 talk silly, apart from the fact that the name was bad enough for the first time, though justified by the circumstance. (I was originally talking about “the internet operating system” but people just didn’t latch onto that. The conference name is the one that stuck.) Here’s this phenomenon that I started calling Web 2.0, and a bunch of people who clearly didn’t get what I was saying come along and start describing the same thing and saying that it’s “Web 3.0.”

    But of course, as noted above, that’s why Tim B-L has some of the same problem with the term Web 2.0, a position with which I have extreme sympathy. He did indeed build it all in from the beginning, though I’m sure that even he didn’t know everything that was going to unfold from his invention. But that’s probably giving too much credit to Tim, much of which belongs to the original designers of the internet — because it’s really the net broadly conceived rather than just the web that is behind the evolution of this new platform for collective intelligence.

  • http://swardley.blogspot.com Simon Wardley

    Over the last decade there have been some significant changes, many based upon earlier ideas. These include :-

    1. The growth of the open meme and its spread from software into other areas (content, hardware, finance etc) increasing participation and enquiry.

    2. The effect of the internet, open source and standards in removing barriers to adoption and increasing serendipity, analogy, spread, participation and enquiry.

    3. The commoditisation of the communication process and IT through their ubiquity. This increased the ability of the public to express, enquire and participate by removing the barriers to participation (entry) in many information fields.

    The combinations of these factors have led to many of the tenets of web 2.0 as well as the acceleration in new innovations on the web, the conflicting role of patents and the consumer as producer.

    Overall, we have been entering a new phase of participation, enquiry and expression where the rules of the past are no longer adequate. There is, and has been, and continues to be, a sea change.

    IMHO, Tim, got the timing right with “web 2.0″ as a point where something significant was changing.

    As for web 3.0, web 4.0, web 4.3.2 etc … any next “phase” is more about how we adapt and deal with these fundamental changes which have already started to diffuse through our society – including the commoditisation of the manufacturing process and the growth of “spimes”.

    The significant change is already occuring and a new wave of participation, enquiry and expression is being built upon it.

    Unfortunately Tim – I feel this is unintentionally your fault. Had you created a neologism (as per Bruce Sterling) or re-used an archaic word like “gardeviance” to describe the change (as Robert “r0ml” Lefkowitz suggests) then so many people might not be talking about “what’s in web 5.0?” but instead talking about the underlying changes.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    David Jones –

    I’m sure many people used the term “Web 2.0″ before we started the conference and associated storytelling that gave it its current meaning. But none of them “took.” Our conference was definitely the start of the use of the term for the purpose for which it’s now generally accepted.

    If you take a look at a Google Trends search for Web 2.0, you’ll see the first little spike that happened in the third quarter of 2004 when we launched the first conference, the lift that happened in 2005 during the marketing lead-up to the second conference in the fall of 2005, the spike right when I published What is Web 2.0? at the end of September 2005, and the steady rise of the meme since then.

    The example you gave in the link to Joe Firmage’s use of the term “a Web 2.0″ is a good example of someone using the term in a generic way earlier on, but one that didn’t stick. He was talking about building an open-source 3D infrastructure that would *replace* the current web in the same way that “Internet 2.0″ efforts have proposed to replace the original internet. That hasn’t happened, has it? In fact, we’ve not heard anything from his company since, so that clearly can’t be the origin of the term’s current vogue.

    (BTW, I was very impressed with Media Machines’ ideas about 3D, especially in the context of social networking, and I’ve been surprised that nothing ever came of that acquisition.)

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Simon,

    I did in fact try at first with a neologism, back in 1997: I called the coming age the age of “infoware” as distinct from software, and argued that infoware was the real outcome of the meeting of open source and the web. I continued that argument in my 2003 paper the Open Source Paradigm Shift, but the ideas didn’t stick till I attached them to the Web 2.0 conference. For whatever reason, that was the meme with legs.

  • http://swardley.blogspot.com Simon Wardley

    Hi Tim,

    Damn, I’d forgotten about ‘infoware’. It’s a shame it didn’t stick then we wouldn’t be having these discussions about “what’s in web X.0″ and more discussion about the underlying trends you noted.

  • http://www.asteriskvoipnews.com Dal

    Nicely done. I think we can kept the dominations to signify the passage of time. Right now I feel we are just getting to mass adoption of broadband services and we can deliver a media rich internet. 2.0 has just started and has alot of potential. Good read.

    Posted from my iPhone
    Dal

  • Jim Elliott

    I think these web generation categories are not best described not on the enabling technologies and when the arose. I think it there is more value to describing the impact on the user. Very simply, web 1.0 started with publishing, content and e-commerce ended with a robust search advertising model, Google. Web 2.0 was about socially scalable collaborative technologies that linked people across and together in a way that allowed them to discover each other as never before. Web 3.0 will be new ways to take social scalable connectivity to greater heights and new places with innovative application. Don’t get stuck on specific pieces of technology or decades but frame it on the significant differentiating value offered by the phases.

  • http://yihongs-research.blogspot.com/ Yihong Ding

    Tim,

    Will there be Web 3.0? No matter people like it or not, there will be a next-generation web after Web 2.0 even though they may not call it “Web 3.0″. How to really name this next generation is not the most crucial thing. World Wide Web evolves and certainly Web 2.0 is not the end; this is crucial.

    I just posted a new series about “The Path towards Next Generation,” in which I will discuss how the Web may evolve beyond the current Web 2.0. In the first installment of this series, I discussed the starting point of this path, which is Web 2.0. I presented a new expression about Web 2.0 by integrating several previous expressions together with my own viewpoints of web evolution. Even if you have read dozens of discussions on what Web 2.0 is, this new expression as well as all my reviews of previous expressions are worth of reading I believe. There are definitely original thoughts in this new expression that may help us better understand Web 2.0 and how it will move forward.

    In addition, one of my previous post “A Simple Picture of Web Evolution” contains a compact explanation of Web 2.0 and the future web if you think this post of “What is Web 2.0″ is too long to read.

    Hopefully you would like these new thoughts.

    What is Web 2.0? | The Path towards Next Generation, Series No.1
    http://yihongs-research.blogspot.com/2007/10/what-is-web-20-path-towards-next.html

    A Simple Picture of Web Evolution

    http://yihongs-research.blogspot.com/2007/09/simple-picture-of-web-evolution.html

    – Yihong

  • http://www.khaitan.org/mt Indus Khaitan

    Fundamentally, I think Web 2.0 is about two things:

    1. Web 2.0 is an attempt to fulfill the promises made during the Web 1.0 days. Office on the web, online calendar, utility computing for the masses, content sharing, collaboration, anywhere/anytime, on-demand storage, 1-click publishing, etc. are some of the examples, where we heard lot of chatter during the late 90s but we are seeing real applications only now.

    2. Browser as a platform has matured. A very simple example of a web page design with rectangles with smooth/rounded edges rendered on web pages. During the 1.0 days it was quite a hack doing that using tables and images. In 2.0, it is done by a few lines of CSS. And then there is AJAX, which has made the browser a much more mature platform.

    Web 3.0 or whatever we will call it in future would be about consuming these applications transparently.

    Indus

  • http://www.cloudsoup.com David Jones

    Tim, you write both of these things on this page:

    ‘Web 2.0 started out as the name of a conference!’

    ‘I’m sure many people used the term “Web 2.0″ before we started the conference’

    And you knew the second before you wrote the first. I wouldn’t care but for your ham-fisted attempt to claim a trademark.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    David,

    I have no interest in getting in another long pissing match with you. At the time we came up with the idea of the conference, we’d never heard anyone else use the term, and I’ve learned about the earlier examples only from your comments.

    The “I’m sure” comment I made was as in “I’m sure there are people who have other opinions, but here’s how I see it.” And I then produced evidence to support my position. If you want to respond, please do respond to that assertion if you disagree with it: The current use and meaning of the term derived from our conference and advocacy.

    And a reminder: I didn’t “make the ham-fisted claim.” As long ago documented, it was our conference partner CMP who filed the claim, and we (O’Reilly) didn’t even learn about it till after the fact. May I quote you: You knew that before you wrote your comment.

    I stand by my description of the origin of the term.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_3 Founder of Web 3.0 Company

    Hi Tim,

    I can’t answer whether or not the Google guys thought they were the next big thing, because I don’t know them, but to speculate, they believed their linux clustering technology was more revolutionary than “order by linktocount desc.” Their success probably took them by surprise. However, don’t kid yourself — Google is full of hubris.

    And yes I agree, that for others too, it will be hubris to say “I’ve got the next revolution!” But for some, it will be truth. Success alone will be the differentiator. I see a lot of people calling their second derivatives revolutionary. Honestly, I may be arrogant. I am cocky for sure, but that doesn’t make me wrong.

    To be clear, I am not saying, “My thing IS the revolution.” The revolution will take many many people like me. I am an enabler. I’m simply looking at trends in computing history and developing into that trend — accelerating that trend I hope. I see where the computing platform is going, because I see from where it has come. I am developing into the natural direction of computing evolution, therefore I am part of it — naturally. It’s as simple as any numeric sequence. I believe that what I am doing is an inevitability. It will happen whether I do it or not. That being said, it may be lumped into Web 2.0 — I didn’t define the term, you did. ;)

    Also, I’d like to comment on your statement that Web 3.0 will be a platform shift. The Web _is_ a platform. If, as you say, the next big thing will be a platform shift, that platform shift won’t be called “Web” 3.0. It will be Platform 3.0 or Internet 3.0. A platform shift will be bigger than the web, but that will not devalue the importance of the next evolution in web computing. Yes, the web is becoming more accessible to a larger physical space and list of devices, but that doesn’t make it “not the web.” A platform shift — the next REALLY big thing — will be a culmination of technologies — including the web. Just like cognitive science builds upon many disciplines, the platform shift will build upon many platforms, one of which may be Web 3.0 or 4.0, depending on our marketing budgets along the way.

    As far as versioning is concerned, I propose we investigate a logarithmic function (f) of users (x) and content (y). At each whole number, we evaluate the current state of the Web and determine it’s major new characteristics in that state. That summary then is the definition of Web 2, Web 3… Web N.

    Here’s a start:
    f(x,y) = logc(ax + by)
    where
    x = number of users of the web
    y = bytes of content available on the web
    a, b, and c are constants

    Thank you Tim.

    Sincerely,

    “Founder”

  • http://derek.abdinor.co.za derek

    Tim,

    It takes zero creativity to call our kids the Z generation, or use Web 3.0. A trend is identified measured by connecting two points. When one adds a third, one is simply providing light entertainment.

    You made this term and trend popular, kudos to you, we get it. Don’t get into the semantics of it, leave that for academics who’ll bring up the rear. You’re worth more to the meme pool being an antennae of the time.

  • Bernard A

    The next Web (not Web 3.0) will be about generating value and revenue for its users (money, user revenue, social value, …)! Users and visitors generating tangible value on the web for themselves and for others. If 2.0 was about user generated content (for free, for fun) the next Web will probably be about user generated value. So maybe it will be vWeb, mWeb or rWeb. Semantics will play a bigger role in the future but humans are the key (they make AND eat the pudding) and humans get only long term involved (contribution of time and efforts) if a strong motivation is at hand (user value). Probably we’ll have to move away first from keyboard and mouse as well.

  • http://icturismo.ning.com alex kornfeind

    Tim you did a great job!

    Let me write some just few statement that we can discuss.

    Donna Hoffman, chancellor’s professor of marketing and co-director of the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing at the University of California, Riverside statement was “If Web 2.0 was about the consumer having control, then Web 3.0 is about augmenting that control with artificial intelligence.”

    Mr. Andreessen after his long career on the web wrote that Web 2.0 does’tn exist http://blogs.business2.com/business2blog/2007/06/andreessen_web_.html

    For others web 2.0 does’nt exixt at all and thsi means only that now everyone of us is only ready to use the web and use it better.

    This is also my personal opinion. Thanks for your precious attention about this matter and your post.

    With sincere regards.

    alex kornfeind
    CEO and R&D Manager
    http://www.piramide.net

  • http://www.research2zero.com Kris Tuttle

    For the first time I caught the nuance that a little bit of the “2.0″ is about a return of what we had in the “1.0″ days before the bubble burst. Looking at it that way there is no real “3.0″ to consider because we just went through the usual technology S-curve of discovery, hype, dismissal and then productive adoption. So we are on the positive slope of the curve after the ups and downs of 1996-2003. Many of the aspects of what people have described to me as “3.0,” including the ability to exist in high fidelity 3-D worlds and all that, seem only to be the result of increased technology, bandwidth and use cases.

    Taking a market rather than technology perspective seems to simplify it a great deal and push aside the useless distinctions of what is “2.0″ versus “3.0″ and so on.

  • http://www.ilab.dk Jens Roland

    While I agree with you, Tim, regarding the true definition of Web 2.0, it’s hard to argue against the notion that “whatever 95% of the population thinks Web 2.0 is, that’s what it is.” Without any single authority on the matter – even the person who coined the term – it is hard for any other definition than the most prevalent one to claim to be ‘the truth’.

    I propose a different ‘definition’ for Web 3.0, namely this. That more than any single, static definition, Web 3.0 is the answer to a question: “After Web 2.0– what’s next?”

    The reason for my proposition is a pragmatic one; what are these labels _for_, anyway? More than anything, they are sensemakers, pithy buzzwords that allow us to hopefully have a shared understanding and jargon about clusters of technologies&trends that may or may not be inherently interconnected.

    The labels help businesses look ahead (Web 3.0 technologies are, ‘by definition’, more cutting-edge than Web 2.0 ones), and they help consultants and conference hosts by oversimplifying an often complex ecology of tech&trends.

    That’s it. As you put it yourself, Web 2.0 started out as a name for a conference, and a reference to the resurgence of interest in the Web. And to that effect, it served its purpose, but the semantics of the term has since been hijacked by people claiming Web 2.0 to be:

    * Web 2.0 = AJAX / client-side UI
    * Web 2.0 = User-(gene)rated content
    * Web 2.0 = A specific design paradigm
    * Web 2.0 = Mashups
    * Web 2.0 = RDF / XML / RSS
    * Web 2.0 = Tagging
    * Web 2.0 = Blogs & Wikis
    * Web 2.0 = APIs & Web Services

    All of the above were certainly hatched, or at least cultivated to the point of maturity, during the “Web 2.0″ period. But one true definition encompassing all of the above seems unlikely to me. It won’t be particularly pithy or elegant, at least.

    But even if I believe in a vague definition of both Web 2.0 and Web 3.0, I think it makes sense to attempt to make the same type of list of tech&trends pertaining to Web 3.0. Instead of trying to single out one simple technology or trend that IS Web 3.0, let’s identify all those that will shape the Web in the next decade.

    A few initial suggestions would be:

    * RDF/OWL -> Pseudo-semantic web (I am 100% with your definition of Semantic web versus Web 2.0; by PSW I mean a much more pervasive use of automated mining, scraping, structure derivation etc.)
    * Location-based services
    * Intelligent agent software for personal and research use (enabled by PSW)
    * Distributed Intelligence / Artificial Artificial Intelligence beats search as primary method for question answering
    * Natural-language translation (via statistical machine translation and AAI)
    * Centralized identity&reputation platform, probably based on Web 2.0 social network or the OpenID initiative

    Plus a couple which I wouldn’t personally include under a heading of “Web”, but rather “Internet”:
    * Increased merging with shared 3D platforms / metaverses
    * Machine-to-machine communication, including the whole idea of credit cards, appliances, body extensions, etc. communicating

    The reason I wouldn’t call these ‘Web 3.0′ technologies is the same reason I wouldn’t call advances in nanocoating or neuroscience ‘Web 3.0′. The technologies, quite simply, have nothing in common. As I’m sure you know, WWW as Tim B-L built it, consists of three technologies: The DNS system, the HTTP network protocol, and the HTML markup language. Sure, all three have been updated in terms of security, extensibility, and general bells&whistles, but WWW is not e-mail, or newsgroups, or telnet, or knitting or lion taming or virtual worlds or pervasive computing. They may have the Internet Protocol or Ethernet or copper wires in common, but that’s all underneath and completely separate from the WWW.

    (btw, I also love Edouard’s elegant RWX-reference, although I think it too is guilty of oversimplification)

    Jens Roland

    Chief Analyst, Techsperience & Future Living
    Innovation Lab
    DENMARK

    http://www.ilab.dk

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Jens, whatever we call it, you’ve got a great list of emerging trends there. All of those things are indeed coming on stream, and will make major changes to the technology we use. Nice post.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Alex, the problem I have with Donna Hoffman’s definition is that I’ve always defined Web 2.0 as the creation of intelligent applications. A key part of what I’m trying to get people to see is that we’re doing “AI” if you will, in a very different way, by building applications that use the collective input of all the users to simulate a kind of intelligence. Perhaps one day the web will truly become intelligent, but for right now, “harnessing collective intelligence” is the heart of what makes Web 2.0 apps different from all previous applications.

  • http://www.resultsmith.com Mark Lee

    In addition to considering a laundry list of candidate sustaining innovations (e.g. Semantic Web, AI) for Web 3.0, how about infusing bits and Web 2.0 into digital data-deficient industries? Let’s push the Web’s edge!

    The underlying necessary (though insufficient) conditions for Web 2.0 “collective intelligence” are:

    • digital data/content exist, and
    • they are networked (otherwise network effects can’t occur).

    For right now, Web 2.0 opportunities exist primarily in bit-based industries (e.g. media, entertainment) where networked users interact with backend-hosted digital data/content.

    But what about industries where users engage in physical activities that do not naturally incorporate digital data (perhaps because they don’t involve keyboard & screen), thus lacking the raw material for Web 2.0 “collective intelligence” opportunities? Perhaps these digital data-deficient industries need the “instrumentation of our activities” that Tim mentions.

    By digitally enabling an industry’s primary physical activities to consume (read) and create (write) digital data, that industry potentially has a data-centric technological discontinuity that allows users to improve the quality of their physical activities.

    Tim notes that Web 3.0 should be RWXRWX …, which implies a feedback loop. However, since the user cares about improving the activity’s execution, the optimal sequence might instead be RXW … RXW … RXW … where

    Initial iteration:

    • R: User uses digital device(s) to Read/access the back-end hosted collective intelligence
    • X: User uses the collective intelligence to better eXecute the activity, and improve its quality
    • W: User’s digital device(s) Write the activity’s result into the backend host to improve the collective intelligence

    Subsequent iteration(s):

    • R: User uses digital device(s) to read the updated collective intelligence, … and the cycle continues …

    Perhaps it should be “Digital 1.0 + Web 2.0 –> Industry 3.0” for a given digital data-deficient industry because digitization and Web 2.0’s potential to continuously improve the activity’s execution also means the opportunity to disruptively reshape the industry’s business model. For example, Norwich Union “Pay as You Drive” changes how Norwich makes money from insuring driving.

    So instead of just focusing upon existing digital data/content-rich bit-based industries that are overflowing with look-alike startups that engage in trivial variations upon a theme, entrepreneurs should also look at digital data-deficient industries which can be digitized (via sensors such as GPS, RFID) to improve activity execution.

    There’s the opportunity to extend (or shift) the industry’s business model to include previously unavailable digital content & services. Here’s a DART approach for doing so:

    • D Digitize Value Drivers for the Industry i.e. what drives customer value?
    • A Apply Web 2.0 Patterns
    • R Re-Imagine Value Creation Opportunities
    • T Transform Industry Business Model

    As Clayton Christensen notes in Forbes, “disruptions often don’t involve big technological breakthroughs” (in other words, it’s okay to apply existing Digital 1.0 technologies to a digital data-deficient industry to digitally empower it), and “true disruptive power lies in reshaping the business model.”

    So look for opportunities to digitally enable an Industry-specific 3.0, and profit from digitally reshaping its business model!

  • http://cenriqueortiz.com C. Enrique Ortiz

    Tim, I just found that you had written about Jason’s definition of Web 3.0 (I must keep up w/ my blogroll!). In any case, a very lame definition by Jason… I had written my opinion here: http://weblog.cenriqueortiz.com/theweb/2007/10/07/web-30-the-official-definition-not/

    Cheers,
    ceo

  • http://www.christianmontoya.net Montoya

    Thanks Tim, you really got me thinking about this and I posted my own predictions here:
    http://www.christianmontoya.com/2007/10/08/web-30-i-about-money/

    I just want to say one thing in addendum that I hope will be of use; whatever we decide or disagree on in regards to where the web is headed, let’s all work together and not let the potential for business returns cloud our judgment, okay? We definitely don’t need another bust or any more silly season.

  • Dale

    Tim,

    Everyone knows Jason is just trying to get attention with his absurd proclamation that Mahalo is somehow a “Web 3.0″ application. It is a bunch of marketing bull, and Jason knows it, but he can’t help himself. If anything Mahalo is Web 1.0. It is the original Yahoo directory, or Ask (without any good editorial content). Mahalo is, at best, just creating more link spam and more noise on the internet.

    Jason’s fallacious use of the term Web 3.0 is also an insult to the intellectual rigor that you have given the web community with your thoughts on Web 2.0. My advice? Don’t fall for Jason’s blatant attempts to get links and just ignore the noise.

  • Urban

    Guys, the web is just the web, just like there’s no heaven 2.0 there’s no web 3.0. To me web 2.0 is to be on the bleeding edge, to be innovative and do things other hasnt done.

  • Lauren Miehe

    Bernard A made an excellent comment about what Web 3.0 will consist of. He spoke of users creating value and that will be accompanied by a new platform.

    The next Web (not Web 3.0) will be about generating value and revenue for its users (money, user revenue, social value, …)! Users and visitors generating tangible value on the web for themselves and for others. If 2.0 was about user generated content (for free, for fun) the next Web will probably be about user generated value.

    This statement could not be more truthful. I believe this is where the web is heading.

    Web 3.0 will have a stronger human element than the Web we have now. I would say we are more likely at “Web 1.6″ because of the still limited access of high speed internet in the United States. With the increasing computing power and scripting languages
    we will increasingly need more humans involved in our web processes to give the services that extra quality and oversight we will need to ever increasing software.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Lauren –

    You’ve got to be kidding. Have you read nothing here? And do you really think Google, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Facebook et al are extracting no value from user contribution? Web 2.0 is all about extracting value from user contribution.

  • Howard

    I hate people keep saying Web 3.0 = Semantic Web, which they don’t understand what is Semantic Web or they have no idea how user generate contents.

  • Hungarian 12.0

    I liked so much this post: it is really nice to hear from the inventor the Web 2.0 definition: “The 2.0 bit wasn’t about the technology, but about the resurgence of interest in the web.”
    The only problem is that “2.0″ in the industry means a new release, something new in technology by definition. And new by purpose. This causes a lot of misunderstanding, as “Web 3.0″ here as a good example.

  • http://sloan.ucr.edu Donna Hoffman

    Alex gave somewhat short shrift to my take on Web 3.0 (“If Web 2.0 was about the consumer having control, then Web 3.0 is about augmenting that control with artificial intelligence.”)

    I do believe that the next phase of the Web (Web 3.0?) will involve the integration of agent technology and AI more generally to help people find what they’re looking for and do the things they want to do, but the issue is how AI will be integrated.

    One approach involves intelligent agents integrated into the semantic web working in the background, mostly without human intervention, e.g. embedded AI for credit card fraud detection, voice recognition for dictation, and so on. This is important, but maybe not that interesting.

    Another approach – much more interesting from my perspective – puts what Tim calls the Web’s collective intelligence to work.

    This approach uses AI and human effort integrated across the network. Two pretty simple but cool examples are Amazon’s Mechanical Turk web service or Google’s Image Labeler game. Others that I think are worth studying because of the implications for consumer behavior are things like Garlik and Google Base and Freebase and others.

    As these apps evolve, we’re “harnessing the collective intelligence” to see where this stuff is headed (eLab eXchange, http://elabexchange.com/)

  • http://www.proworkflow.com julian

    Good post and comments…
    Funnily enough, I wrote a comment about the Web 2.0 issue and how I thought that in reality, It should be called Web 16.0! Here’s the article…

    http://julian101.com/2007/09/web20_or_web16/

  • pawel lubczonok

    It seems that there is still quite a lot of discussion in elucidating expectations from Web 3.0. For me at the center is the word knowledge and semantic – but in a different context. The problem is the following: How come there is a need for armies of people to implement systems such as enterprise management software. It occurs by business expressing their requirement/knowledge and than it goes through layers of management and translation to eventually programing it (expressing knowledge to computer). We express our knowledge to computers in such low level language/manner that it needs this human translation machine to feed the computer. If one studies the various other proposals at expressing knowledge which are associated with Web 3.0 they are way too technical and low level as well, so in my opinion they will not solve the problem. So, there needs to be a way of expressing oneself/communicating with computer/web etc. that does not have to be translated to: for loops arrays, object etc, but is rather on the more abstract level and closer to the way humans think. So, for me, Web 3.0 is a new and more optimal way of communicating with the Web that involves explicitily specified semantic/knowledge that is machine processable. (If someone is able from existing web content able to convert text to such form of expression it would be very impressive.) This will result in us being able to share knowledge rather than texts. Natural language is not necessarily the optimal form of expression for a lot of knowledge – for example, mathematics has its own language that is more efficient than english to express itself.

    On line desktop etc are more manners of delivery (on site/on line). However, with the desire for the possibility of DIY Web (expressing what one wants to do, e.g. DIY enterprise), that at present exists in the most trivial fashion such as face book, means that web platform must also be a development platform.

    Our company Orfeo has been working on this form of expression for knowledge for last 9 years and we are about to go live with an enterprise management/process exchange offerings based on deep semantic knowledge expression. It’s domain will be ThoughtExpress.Com. We already have four insurance companies (not on line) that run on our knowledge technology.

    Pawel Lubczonok

  • http://www.qm-consulting.co.uk Richard Morton

    If Web 1.0 was read and Web 2.0 was write then 2.0 has been around a lot longer than I thought (forums and guestbooks spring to mind).

    Of course, what the World really needs is more granularity in this e.g. Web 2.1.05c – I jest.

    Web 2.0 was an interesting concept (whatever it’s origins) and has in many ways become a brand. I think that it would be difficult and pointless to try and extend the brand to Web 3.0, it could end up like Vanilla Coke or Consignia.

    Richard Morton – QM Consulting Ltd, UK

  • jeff

    Sramana Mitra has developed a compelling definition of Web 3.0, and differs on the viewpoint that Semantic Web would be the essence of the next generation of the Internet.Web 3.0 according to her, is a Verticalized, Contextualized, Personalized Web. Links: http://sramanamitra.com/blog/1165 http://sramanamitra.com/blog/572 http://sramanamitra.com/blog/775 http://sramanamitra.com/blog/572

  • Tom

    How is Mahalo Web 3.0? It’s just hand written search pages. It doesn’t really make much sense how this is an advance on what we already have.

  • http://www.geoffroberts.net Geoffrey Roberts

    Whilst I don’t like the terms Web 2.0 or Web 3.0… why not just say we are at Web 0.21 at the moment?

    I don’t also like the notion that Web 2.0 is a realisation of Web 1.0; as the web in its infancy was a mere collection of hyperlinked text pages, and it was black, white, and greys.

    The notion that there was a detour to Web 1.5 (and the dot-com bust) is stupid too. The technology was no different, just that there was a failed business model. Are current Web 2.0 business models any better? Probably not. They all still rely upon advertising for revenue (or donation for Wikipedia) and a global recession will hit advertising spending hard. I also think web users are able to avoid online adverts better and that TV advertising is more effective.

    Should the ad-revenue dip, then Google, Facebook, 100s of bloggers, MySpace, etc will all struggle to stay afloat – and overinflated share prices will tumble.

    Ultimately, some web companies have been profitable and will continue to make a profit based on traditional business logic. And Ads are a business logic (most TV channels, radio statio, magazines and newspapers rely on them for profit) but they may not be enough to sustain all the web businesses that they currently do.

  • http://helpglobe.blogspot.com/ Sherwin Shao

    I like /pd’s defininition that Web 3.0 is a intelligent + personalized web.

    Predictive Personalization is what will happen next as a quantum leap, where the web is smart enough to give you what you need. This could be RSS feeds or search results, but the future will be very different.

  • http://www.digitalstrategyconsulting.com/thoughtleaders/2007/07/joel_de_rosnay.html Danny Meadows-Klue

    “would-be meme-engineers”… As always a breath of fresh air Tim, but I’m interested to know what you guys think of whether we’re close to a paradigm that fuses online and offline experiences and data into an augmented reality. Joel de Rosnay has been posturing this in a big way and when i interviewed him in the summer he was clear that this was a Web 3 experience – http://www.digitalstrategyconsulting.com/thoughtleaders/2007/07/joel_de_rosnay.html – and the differences, though subtle, are more than surface deep. For Rosnay, Web 3.0 could mean dropping down the visor and watching the data flow over the lens; if that sounds a little too sci-fi, then how about packets of traffic and weather data floating gently from the chips in your windscreen? Look at it like that and it starts to feel more comfortable…

    Back in the mid nineties some of the stuff we were doing when I was the publisher of the UK’s first online newspaper http://www.telegraph.co.uk was digitally native and slipped quite neatly into the Web 2.0 meme map, almost a decade earlier. Since then I’ve spent much of my life teaching digital publishing, and it’s painful how most publishers are still wrestling with the DNA of Web 1.0. I guess the disconnect in timing will be the cause of the casualties, but for the folks away from this blog and its feeds, that pace of change is bitter and heart-wrenching.

    Anyways, whichever way you read it, Web 3.0 will be taking us a lot further towards the novels of Gibson and further away from the years of keyboards and mice we’ve all endured while growing up. Whichever model it is: bring it on ;-)

  • http://microsofttechnicalsupport.blogspot.com/ DecisiveThinking

    In my opinion,Web 3.0 will be all encompassing,everything will be connected to the Internet.It will break away from the conventional human-computer interactions to human-electronics.In just a few years,RFID chips smaller than the eye can see will hold more information and have far more processing power than todays computers ,will function as a individual device on the net.Each collecting and sharing information.Imagine Google being able to tell you will pin-point accuracy where you left your keys via Google Maps.Thats right folks,the world IS going to be a whole different place real soon

  • http://www.psybertron.org Ian Glendinning

    I’d agree that “Web 3″ is just marketing hype, some labelling trying to make a distinction in the market-place. If ultimately we just take it as a third-decade’s worth of development, then fair enough, but it therefore means nothing distinctive – ie it’s hardly semantic.

    What the semantic web is or isn’t is the more important question. Whether the graphs represent ontologies (formal hierarchical taxonomies) or simply “meaningful connections” – it would be a mistake to see controlled ontologies as an aim for the web in general, (but of course controlled datamodels and libraries will have value in discrete business domains).

    For the web as a whole, the semantic standardisation should only be at the level where meaninful links and graphs are represented – RDF, OWL and the languages (like SPARQL) that can interpret the graphs based on such standardisation. Graphs here are the sum total of formally modelled and socially emergent – both are equally important.

  • http://www.LetterRep.com Rob

    Still…no description of Web 3.0.

    Here’s one…

    A new dimension. People as the Platform

    http://web3solutions.blogspot.com