These days, the term “web 3.0” is thrown about casually, especially in the tech world. Its actual definition, however, has remained somewhat elusive. What differentiates this new web interface from web 2.0, for instance? What qualities does it exhibit? While experts are divided over some characteristics of web 3.0 design, they do express general agreement that this term embodies the following traits.
Many web users concur that the 3.0 design can be defined as the “semantic web.” While the concept of the semantic web can be complicated, it essentially refers to the Internet’s ability to process data across different applications and programs. The basic etymology of the word “semantic” is derived from the word “meaning;” thus, a semantic web can determine meaning automatically, reuse it, and share it. Some critics of this term believe we have not yet achieved a semantic web, and that such an achievement is actually an advanced form of artificial intelligence. Nevertheless, the seeds of this development are located in this third generation web design.
Another aspect of the 3.0 design is the ability to personalize data. In sum, this means that the Internet has the ability to determine the difference between different users and programs based solely on web-constructed data. For example, sites like Facebook will often process an individual user’s data in order to send tailored advertisements to that user.
This is, of course, one of the more controversial aspects of web 3.0 design, but is nevertheless a defining characteristic that sets it apart from web 2.0.
Some web experts refer to the 3.0 interface as the “metaverse.” This term refers to the latest developments in virtual reality, one of 3.0’s enhancements over 2.0. Like “semantic web,” this term has generated some controversy as a defining characteristic of web 3.0. Its meaning, after all, is literally “beyond the universe,” which some believe points to its impossibility. Yet the latest web design is capable of generating 3D images—a kind of alternate or enhanced reality—which, for many people, justifies to the use of the term “metaverse” to define the third generation of web development.
One of the most recognizable aspects of the 3.0 design is its mobile capability. Ever since the term “web 3.0” was uttered by John Markoff nearly seven years ago, web technology has seen an enormous advancement in mobile function. Wireless Internet has improved, broadband speeds have doubled, connectivity has become more reliable, and there has been an influx of new mobile devices onto the market. Many predict that the 3.0 interface will only continue to produce this enhanced mobile access in coming years.
While web experts continue to debate the characteristics of third generation web technology, the developments over web 2.0 are evident. Web users are able to access, transfer, and create web data faster than ever before. Technology changes so fast, in fact, that we may witness a “web 4.0” in our lifetime, one that boasts even more advanced and controversial artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality.