I have been in Grad school for over a year now, and I keep hearing the term “Web 2.0” in regards to internet technologies. So I wanted to dig a bit deeper and figure out where the term came from and maybe even catch a glimpse of where we are going.
The concept and term Web 2.0 was coined in early 2000, supposedly between Tim O’Reilly and MediaLive International. But what is Web 2.0? In short it is a new way to visualize and use the internet. Prior to the dot com bubble burst in 2001, the internet wasn’t nearly as interactive as it is today. Things were still being figured out and people weren’t quite sure what the “World Wide Web” was capable of offering. Web 1.0 consisted of information that was only available through ‘standard’ means such as email, visiting a website, and similar activities that didn’t allow the user to alter or personalize much of anything (remember how exciting it was when AIM first allowed you to personalize your font and personal icon in the IM software?).
There were so many options becoming available during this time, that people were beginning to wonder if that was all the internet was good for, cheap tricks and mild entertainment. However, there was a shift in thinking that spawned a new era of services. The idea of a static web was replaced with the notion that web users wanted collaboration, and Web 2.0 was born. Sites such as Flickr, Napster, and Wikipedia began to surface where users were able to contribute information, and the internet we know today was shaped.
After using a collaborative internet for so long it is difficult to imagine it being any other way. We now have Facebook and Twitter; ThePirateBay and Wikipedia; and we upload an unbelievable amount of data to the internet daily (see infographic below). Which brings me to my next thought, is there a Web 3.0?
If Web 1.0 was considered a “platform” (O’Reilly, 2005), and Web 2.0 is the interactive web, then logically Web 3.0 should be … Who knows! HowStuffWorks thinks that it will be a glorified personal assistant, stating that you could type in complex statements into the browser and it will give you immediate results (Their example is you type in that you want to see a funny movie and then go out for Mexican food. The browser then sorts through all the possibilities and gives you a result that is best suited for you). Others, such as W3C, have stated that it will be a ‘semantic web’ allowing for further collaboration as well as greater amounts of data being process directly and indirectly by computers.
There isn’t really a good answer as to what Web 3.0 will bring. But it is certain that it will be exciting. So brace yourselves! The internet is about to get more interesting.