3.1 Predictions for Web 3.0

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Web 3.0 is beginning to get some buzz. Here are some predictions about what it may mean for companies when it becomes standard use.

Please keep in mind that these predictions come from the guy who saw Nirvana live about 20 years ago and proclaimed “that morbid group of screamers is going nowhere.” So read anything I predict at your own risk.

First, a brief history to bring us up to speed about what the escalating web versions have provided. A good analogy may be similar to how your relationship with your parents changed as you grew up.
Web 1.0 was like when you were young, and your parents told you what to do and expected very little feedback on their instructions. If you were on the web back then, websites pretty much were static pages of information and predominantly one-way communication. You could buy from an Amazon.com but rarely interact with them. You may have had things you wanted to share but not many ways to do it.

{advertisement} In your teens, you were more than willing to give your parents more feedback than they probably wanted, and this is where we are now with Web 2.0. Social media have exploded and blended with web searches and commerce. It often feels like Google knows what you are looking for before you finish typing.  

This brings us to the impending Web 3.0 which, depending on whom you believe, is anywhere from tomorrow to five years away. Web 3.0 will blend everything and make you feel that the web has been personally created for you. It will evaluate what you buy, visit, and say and start making very tailored recommendations for you. The most basic example would be if you do a lot of searches on topics such as “Boston,” “baseball,” and “fashion.” Don’t be surprised if you start getting unsolicited notifications or advertisements that Boston Red Sox jerseys in your size and favourite colour are on sale from a retailer close to where you happen to be now. To continue my earlier analogy, this may be akin to your parents asking very probing questions about when they can expect grandchildren or offering far more information on their health issues than perhaps you are interested in.  

Based on that, I would like to make three (plus one small bonus) predictions on where Web 3.0 may help you work better or smarter:

PREDICTION 1.0

You are going to start working more effectively, whether you want to or not.  Many experts believe that a Web 3.0 browser will act like a personal assistant. As you search the web, the browser learns what you are interested in. The more you use the web, the more your browser learns about you and the less specific you’ll need to be with your questions. Eventually you might be able to ask your browser open questions like “lunch now?” Your browser would consult its records of what you like and dislike, take into account your current location, the balance in your bank account, know the last time you bought Tums, and then suggest a list of nearby restaurants based on other users’ ratings.

Take this analogy further to what your company does, and perhaps your sales team will be armed with extensive real-time information on their customers, allowing for very timely calls offering very specific services. 

PREDICTION 2.0

Configured correctly, your equipment will start communicating with you extensively. This will be enabled by the arrival of the “semantic web,” which are processes and technologies where information is categorized and stored in such a way that computers can understand it as well as humans. A current challenge is that web pages are designed to be read by humans, so it is an inefficient process for applications to properly understand current web sites. The semantic web will make websites far more comprehensible for computers and then computers will be able to process massive amounts of information quickly, freeing up a human to do more effective things (hello nap!). This could be viewed as a combination of artificial intelligence and the semantic web. If it works like it should, you will be interacting with machinery at a more intimate level than Austin Powers did with the Fembots. 

PREDICTION 3.0

Size will no longer matter (despite what I have heard).  Your small handheld device will be able to access massive computing power (predominately using cloud computing, which will be my topic in the next issue) and will enable people to work very effectively no matter where they are. I know that “work anywhere” sounds like a pitch you have heard before, but let’s face it, smartphones are really only great for email, texting, and other communication-based applications.

With smart phones soon able to access enormous server farms processing your own information in applications configured for your company, things will really change. Think of a manager who can run and evaluate enormous year-end financial reports just by executing the commands on a smartphone or netbook. Of course, this will only be a benefit assuming you can actually see what you are doing on those small screens. 

PREDICTION 3.1

If you are familiar with application versioning, you will know that minor upgrades move up a number to the right of the decimal, so here is my .1 prediction for Web 3.0. Although I am sure that it was said that technology was moving at a rapid pace when a single computer filled a warehouse, it is evolving exponentially and, quite frankly, becoming harder to predict. For example, Facebook was not around seven years ago and now boasts more than 500 million users.

It is safe to say that when Web 3.0 is implemented, it will be powered or popularized by a trend that is probably being cooked up in a dorm room right now by a kid who is more familiar with video games than dating. Web 3.0 will not be a revolution, but it will be revolutionized by some novel service that catches fire and drives people toward it in such volumes that Web 2.0 cannot properly support it. 
It should be noted that the web is (and I quote that ’70s exemplar, Electric Light Orchestra) “a living thing” and 2.0 was an enhancement on 1.0, not a replacement. I think Web 3.0 will even take that one step further; it will have the simplicity of 1.0, the interconnectivity of 2.0, and will introduce enormous computing power and standard platforming (think how well all the Apple applications work together) that will make us laugh at what we once had. So get ready. Although it is not here yet, Web 3.0 is about to be (as Kurt Cobain once bellowed to me) “In Bloom.”