Web 1.0 connected parts of the world and communities in ways that few had every imagined but it was flat and one-dimensional. Where once a letter may have taken weeks to be delivered, an email could be sent almost instantaneously but it was still only really old technology being pushed in a new format. Web 2.0 brought us interactivity: Rich media, social & bridging of the gaps in the global economy, making us all closer and in part more reliant on one another. Next up is Web 3.0 but what of it?
With debate still raging about Web 2.0 and what it is, Web 3.0 is even less agreed in terms of a definition, and possibly never will be. What is certain however, is it will be nearer Sci-Fi than anything we have ever seen before. If you are pertubed by Google’s suggested search phrases now, dislike social search and are anti-CCTV, the next generation for web technologies may have you squirming in your seat as the colour drains from your face.
The Semantic Web
Tim Berners-Lee the founder father of the WWW and has described the Semantic Web as part of Web 3.0
The key will be internet tools that make search faster, more intuitive and become an even more important part of your life. For those yet to be controlled by their smartphone mood apps, electronic calendar and online task reminders, the world of the web is set to become very different as Web 3.0 becomes our personal assistant, analysing the patterns of our daily lives and throwing up new suggestions for us to follow. Imagine the ship’s computer in the BBC comedy Red Dwarf and Web 3.0 might not be too far away, if a little less sarcastic.
The semantic Web is only part of the package that Web 3.0 is likely to offer. As this video https://vimeo.com/36027546 of the world’s first 3D-printer pavilion now open in Amsterdam shows, technology now exists to effectively print in 3D form. Creating physical objects down electrical wires is as close as science has so far got to the sci-fi favourite of tele-porting and possibly that itself may be what Web 4.0 brings. For now Web 3.0 is likely to be very focused upon creation of 3D form. It could revolutionise the way we consume, almost banish shipping costs in an instant and have a massive impact on how we interact with the world around us. Imagine turning up at an exhibition with just a printer under your arm and then ‘printing’ a full exhibition stand, with banners, tables, chairs and display stands. The technology already exists so within a few years the chances are it is the kind of technology that certainly those with a techie-bent will be taking for granted.
If Web 3.0 is about all things Sci-Fi, then augmented reality is possibly the closest thing to tele-porting humans will get in Web 3.0. Placing you in any environment, overlapping real with virtual worlds, augmented reality is already in use by some in the form of Blippar and Aurasma.
Whether you use it or not Geo-social in the form of FourSquare gaming or just check-ins on Facebook Places has had an impact on our culture in recent years. What has been learned by the geeks however, is far more ground-breaking. If the other sci-fi aspects of Web 3.0 concerns you, this functionality could be very disturbing. Imagine your friends knowing exactly where you were at any point, so that you could move your virtual engagement into the real world. It exists in the mainstream already as Apple’s Find Friends and it is just that technology that could soon see you ‘stalked’ by every brand you have ever liked on Facebook or engaged with on Twitter. Spot marketing at it’s most accurate but where the law will be drawn on privacy is yet to be seen. You needn’t have been so overt in your actions either. Modern forensic language analysis by computers can identify brands or places you might like just by the words you use on a day to day basis. You could be reaching out to perfect customers before they even know you exist.
In summary Web 3.0 will be more about personalisation and dynamic content created on the basis of intelligent analysis and search of our individual actions… Sound familiar? Yes, in reality we are already embracing many of the Web 3.0 facets, beginning to understand them and accept them as part of our normal every day lives. Certainly that is the case in terms of the Semantic Web. In relation to 3D printing, the technology is being refined every day, but imagine being able to reward a loyal customer immediately with a physical item as a thank you. Literally printing down the line to their office. That brings reaching out to customers to a new level and it is that element of Web 3.0 which we think will literally bring about the biggest change in engagement.