A recent project has brought to mind an interesting set of questions. Does Web 3.0 exist? What even is Web 3.0?
We’ve come to accept the term Web 2.0, and it’s used to describe a social, interactive web, featuring embedded commenting on articles, share to network links, and easy collaboration between individuals. Web 2.0 has turned the Internet into a community. Almost every news article now has a comments section, where readers can drop their thoughts, and converse with others about the article. Also, most of these articles, blogs, and news stories have direct links to share to networks like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. These Social Networks also allow people to collaborate with others, even outside of their immediate area. Google has implemented collaborative features into Google Docs to allow people to easily work on documents together. But what is the next step beyond an interactive, social web?
According to most sources, Web 3.0 involves a more connected, “smart,” infrastructure. Take for instance what is known as the “Internet of Things,” or IoT. There are now home appliances that are connected to the Internet for convenience. We are in a time where it is not unheard of to use your phone to check if you turned off the lights in your house, or even locked your front door. We have Internet connected refrigerators that will notify you by email when the water filter needs to be changed, we have security cameras and “nanny cams” that can be viewed remotely at any time. And now, with devices such as Amazon’s Echo, many home tasks can be controlled by voice. “Alexia, set a reminder to call work,” or “OK, Google, turn on my living room lights.”
The shift to Web 3.0 can also be identified by an increase in “apps,” the general term for mobile optimized applications that can be used on a smartphone or tablet. For example, instead of using the mobile phone browser to view a website, you can usually use that organization’s app to interact. There are apps to read news, apps for online shopping, apps to order food, even apps to put yourself on a restaurant waiting list before you arrive.
By using these criteria, it’s hard to argue that Web 3.0 isn’t already here. Whether or not the term will catch on remains to be seen, but we are definitely in the third generation of the Internet as we know it.