Defining “Web 3.0”


Today on Digg/Reddit/ there’s an article near the top about Eric Schmidt’s definition of Web 3.0. Apparently, he defines Web 3.0 as moving towards a computer architecture where applications are web-based, personalized, etc.

I don’t really know if that’s where we’re heading — Personally I hope not, as that model strikes me as being pretty poor for the end user unless you like having your personal information traded amongst corporations for profit. Either way, before we get to Web 3.0 I hope we can at least get to some semblance of order in the current state of affairs on the web. What do I mean by that?

Current Web 2.0 sites are plagued by a variety of ills:

-Spam (99%+ spam, guaranteed)
-Organized mobs manipulating the system(s) to their own benefit
-Politics (Every other story is about Impeaching Bush! or some other conspiracy-theory like story)
-Religion (Every other-other story is about Impending Theocracy!, creationism, Richard Dawkins, or Fred Phelps)
-Ron Paul (Every story is about Ron Paul, Lord and Savior of Mankind, or at least until the Democratic primaries)
-Scaremongering (Everything is URGENT! And if you weren’t so evil, you’d care just as much as the submitter!)
-Frequent negative value to users (ie, a waste of time)

A web without these problems would be a true Web 3.0. Anything else is just an incremental version upgrade.

2 Responses

  1. Eh, web based applications are pretty web 2.0, which is, in itself, just the nature of the web coming to the foreground. I don’t normally care about the naming of things, but I really dislike the term “web 2.0” because it implies that there’s something different about the web. There isn’t. I mean, yeah, javascript works now, which is great, and companies have realized that they can’t force old business models onto the web, and maybe a few other minor things, but the web is pretty much the same as ever. More people are using it for more things, but that doesn’t constitute a version jump. This whole versioning of the web needs to stop:P

    Anyway, the big challenge going forward is separating signal from noise. For most of the 80s and 90s, the main concern was computing power and data storage. Now that those things have progressed far enough, we have way too much data and we don’t know how to analyze it, even though we probably have enough computing power to do so. A lot of what “Web 2.0” represents is along these lines – social computing, etc… seems to work reasonably well for dealing with the massive amounts of data on the web. Your list of problems is certainly valid though, and what it means is that there simply needs to be a lot of improvement in such systems. Tapping into social networking seems to be a necessary component for dealing with all this data, but we need to mitigate the issues you bring up somehow…

    As for applications… that’s already happened. The most important application these days is your browser. The real shift will be when operating systems go away (I’m talking out of my ass here, but that seems to be the logical conclusion to what has already begun – the browser as platform).

  2. I’m pretty much agreed with you. Web 2.0 has always been a fuzzy marketing buzzword, with no clear definition (it’s either AJAX related, or about user participation, or both, or neither…). But pretty much all of the functionality that’s grouped under Web 2.0 was being done before the term was ever thought up (or would have been, barring constraints on handling stuff like audio and video).

    Hence why I kind of put Web 3.0 (in my estimation) way out there. Although there might be some eventual technological solutions to the immediate issues I outlined, there will always be more similar signal-to-noise problems. Even a solid filtration and blocking system isn’t without the pitfalls of ignoring broad swaths of content. (For some reason, the idea of a GITS-like “autistic” mode comes to mind.) I see the larger obstacle to reaching a Web 3.0 state as Human 1.0.

    Besides my giant tangent, I don’t know if I look forward so much to the browser-as-platform. Maybe someone can tell me to get excited when all the browsers have learned how to simply display webpages in the exact same fashion.

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