What is Web 3.0?

One year ago we were discussing wether Web 2.0 was or not a bubble waiting for the right time to blow. A couple of months ago several folks started using the Web 3.0 term, but all of them failed to create a better deffinition for it than the one for Web 2.0. Furthermore, each one using the term was defining it its own way, so there is really no consense on what Web 3.0 is.

The conflict of definitions is clear: Wikipedia's entry on Web 3.0 starts with Web 3.0 is a term that has been coined with different meanings to describe the evolution of Web usage and interaction among several separate paths. These include transforming the Web into a database, a move towards making content accessible by multiple non-browser applications, the leveraging of artificial intelligence technologies, the Semantic web, or the Geospatial Web., but maybe more important than that to analyze it is that the discussion page for that article has three times more text than the article itself.

My take is that Web 3.0 shouldn't be considered the same as the Semantic Web or the Geoweb. Those two terms were coined before the wide use of the Web 3.0 term, so if the Web 3.0 was just that, why wouldn't people refer to it by their names? I think (yet I might be completely wrong) that the idea of saying that Web 3.0 is the same as the Semantic Web was brought by this NY Times article, and if it is then it's relevancy is turned into nothing when you note that it was written by John Markoff. OK, OK, instead of dissing the article because of its author, you can instead check this article criticizing NY Times' one. But the term really appeared as a synonym of Semantic Web (if we ignore the sarcastic references to the term), they're also and already trying to coin Web 4.0... So let's stop this rush of wanting to increase the Web's "major version number", and see what Web 3.0 could be. Web 2.0 is a new web, in the sense that it is social, contextual, data-driven and focusing on its users. Web 3.0, to deserve that name, has to be such a big paradigm shift as that one.

Other thinkers of the Web 2.0 world have different definitions for it, tho, one of them being "Web 3.0 = Music 2.0 + Games 2.0 + Web 3D", and I don't doubt that, while that is an ugly definition, this one isn't far from truth. Maturing Web 2.0 will bring us Web 3.0, that will come naturally. Other definitions come, and this one is probably the nearest to my own vision of the future of Web: R/WW writer Sramana Mitra defined Web 3.0 with this formula: Web 3.0 = 4C + P + VS, or, in words, Web 3.0 is a mashup between Content, Commerce, Community, Context, Personalization and Vertical Search. Of course that this isn't an widely accepted definition, and R/WW even did a contest for definitions of Web 3.0 after that definition was posted and used.

But, more than finding out who said what, or what people say Web 3.0 is, the simple definition will never change from "the web we'll have in a couple of years". With that in mind, comes my own concept of Web 3.0, mashing up definitions from others.

Web 3.0: A web where the concept of website or webpage disapears, where data isn't owned but instead shared, where services show different views for the same web/the same data. Those services can be applications (like browsers, virtual worlds or anything else), devices or other, and have to be focused on context and personalization, and both will be reached by using vertical search.

So I've waited some months, to let the water boil down, and now I want to know: what do you think Web 3.0 is?


  1. Anonymous4:35 PM

    I'd love to publish this article, with your bio and link, etc, on my blog www.altsearchengines.com, Read/WriteWeb's newest blog that covers Vertical Search every week and has a Guest Author every Thursday (today).


    Charles Knight, editor