Have you noticed the Internet is changing? Does it feel like your online experience is being dictated by your previous browsing history? Are those items you searched on SSENSE following you to other websites in the advertisements sections? Taunting you, relentlessly reminding you about the Isabel Marant blouse you never bought and can’t afford? (well, that’s my current experience….)
These changes are the evolution of the Internet and we are living through it in this very moment. Even as you read this blog the Internet is becoming more intelligent in order to create a new experience of surfing the net. It is called “Web 3.0” and its here and happening now. Here is a brief background of the last 2 generations of the web so far and what you can expect from the Web 3.0
Web 1.0 refers to the first stage of the Internet. Although the exact definition has been debated, most seem to agree that Web 1.0 was when websites were static and did not provide interactive content. Here’s a look at how some “popular” websites looked back then. They’re almost as embarrassing as old celebrity high school photos. You can click on each photo to enlarge the image, and see all the horror!
Since 2004 the term “Web 2.0” has been used to describe the social web. This new title wasn’t used to describe a change in specific web technology, but instead a change in the way websites were created and used. During the rise of Web 2.0 social media became an essential tool for every single individual with most web users beginning to interact and collaborate in virtual communities. This gave rise to the popularity of websites that emphasized user generated content through social media like Facebook and Twitter or crowdsourcing websites such as Wikipedia and Trip Advisor. Now, because of this user engagement, the web has become more open, more connected and more intelligent, leading us to our current state, Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is a phrase coined in 2004 by John Markoff, a journalist with the New York Times. It has also been called the “Semantic Web” but if I try to explain that, you’ll stop reading because it’s kind of a technical snooze. Web 3.0 describes the third generation of the Internet, which we are currently experiencing the early stages of. It’s all about the “intelligent web” and has been described as one of the biggest revolutions of our time.
Web 3.0 is an extension of Web 2.0. It emphasizes a “machine-facilitated understanding of information in order to provide a more productive and intuitive user experience”. It has created a personalizable web experience with intelligent search and behavioural advertisements where content is generated by machines instead of by humans. For example, instead of a professional marketer using research to figure out which individuals to advertise to, Web 3.0 uses machines and algorithms to specifically target individuals based on their web history and user data.
You may think “Web 3.0? I’ve never heard of it”…well you actually have. We interact with Web 3.0 technologies everyday, primarily through our smartphones. Things like cloud computing, retina displays and 4G Internet, which have drastically improved our web experience, are all products of Web 3.0.
Not only is Web 3.0 changing our online experience, it’s also changing what we value in our lives. Virtual items are now becoming more valuable than physical items. Push notifications telling us when our bus will arrive, or if we need to restock certain items in our fridge are starting to have a higher importance for us than many physical objects. This information created by Web 3.0 is becoming an integral and invaluable part of our daily lives.
Web 3.0 is creating hyper-connectivity amongst the human race. Hyper-connectivity is defined as “the state of being constantly connected to people and systems through devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers - and sometimes through software that enable and promote constant communication.” Pair this with the studies which show people are starting to use their mobile phones and tablets more than their laptop computers, we are definitely headed towards an increasingly “web heavy existence”.
In 2012 there were 2 devices connected to the Internet for every person in the world. This number is predicted to increase to 6 devices for every person by the year 2020. In the next 4 years the changes in our web experiences brought through Web 3.0 will be a very interesting one to watch. Although I’m sure our grandchildren will probably look back at all of this and laugh at the simplicity of it, for now it’s an interesting digital revolution to be aware and a part of.