Wednesday, June 24, 2009

R.I.P. Web 2.0

Just when you thought you understood Web 2.0 enough to impress friends and associates at social events, Web 2.0 becomes more passe than Doc Marten shoes. Yes, it is true that the most well known internet buzz word is losing its relevance but the good news is Web 3.0 has arrived! Now we have a new buzz word to spend the next few years defining.

The interesting thing about these milestones is they appear to be only identifiable after they have arrived. It is almost like predicting a storm. We can see the clouds on the horizon but we don't know how destructive they will be until after it has passed. Similarly with the web we can see the implications of newer web innovations but it is difficult to predict whether they will create discontinuity in the marketplace until after they have arrived and been fully adopted.

What exactly is Web 3.0? It appears that the foundations of Web 3.0 are cloud-based data and services. With 23.8% of the worlds population online and 429 million broadband subscribers, applications are beginning to move into the internet cloud and away from individual devices. This is allowing media clients to become "thinner" as long as they can access the web. With the introduction of 'net books' and increased penetration of 'smartphones' the decade old vision of the network appliance is now a reality. Today Web 3.0 is the complete integration of computing into every part of our lives in a way that is seamless, ubiquitous and ideally, dead simple.

Where will Web 3.0 lead us? The answer isn't clear. If we take a closer look at how the web has evolved we can still see that data travels in one direction at a single point in time. For example, the ultimate Web 1.0 example is the flat webpage that acts as a brochure. With Web 1.0, the user enters the website and the website appears. There is an action and a reaction. Today, Twitter operates the same way. A member of twitter will post information and that information is read by all of the respective subscribers. Ultimately, the web is moving toward a model where data travels multi-directional at a single point in time. An example would be when all data that is relavant to a user is automatically accessible to individuals.

Imagine the scenario, your boss wants you to go to Houston for a meeting. The moment you accept a meeting request in your inbox all of your travel, hotel, ground transportation, etc. is instantly and automatically arranged at the times that are optimal for your needs. All you have to do is pack. We are not there yet but who knows, perhaps we will get there before Web 5.0.