The World Wide Web is changing, again. But it might not be immediately apparent, given that Tim Berners-Lee’s creation is now an intrinsic part of everyday life for millions of people.
Ask any expert how the web is evolving and they’re likely to tell you that we’re on the brink of Web 3.0. But what is Web 3.0 and how – if at all – is it likely to change our lives?
Firstly, let’s take a brief history lesson in the evolution of the web…
A (Very) Brief History Of The Web
It is generally agreed that there have been, thus far, two phases of the web. They’re known, quite simply, as ‘Web 1.0’ and ‘Web 2.0’ and can be described as follows:
Where it all began. A one-way platform that enabled people to consume content on the Internet. Typically made up of simple, text- and image-based web pages, Web 1.0 was characterised by the first business websites and early adoption as a route to market by media companies like the BBC and CNN.
User interaction and the ability to generate one’s own content were pretty much absent from Web 1.0 and web searches relied on very specific phrases. Intelligent and malleable, it was not.
The introduction of new web design practices and more powerful web browsers heralded the dawn of Web 2.0, which placed the emphasis on human and social interaction on the web.
This resulted in the rich, responsive web design we see today and the rise of the web app, which turned webpages into software applications capable of complex tasks previously only available on native Windows or Mac software.
While the type of content that could be consumed widened considerably, Web 2.0 also introduced the notion of user-generated content, by putting publishing tools into the hands of anyone who wanted to promote their own writing, podcasts or video productions.
So, What Is Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 is a more intelligent beast. By harnessing the power of big data and machine learning, it has become known as the ‘semantic web’, where user data and behaviour is analysed and used to deliver a more personal web browsing experience. A perfect example of this in action can be found within the realm of advertising where promotions for products in which you have an active interest follow you around the web.
But many experts also believe that Web 3.0 will allow for a faster, more intuitive web experience with the ability to abandon command line search phrases and instead speak to the likes of Google naturally. “Show me all of the films that are on at my local cinema tomorrow evening,” being a perfect example of a search phrase that will deliver the desired results in the Web 3.0 era.
How Web 3.0 Will Benefit Our Lives
We think there are, rather appropriately, three reasons the rise of Web 3.0 will change our lives for the better:
1. A more personalised browsing experience
As invasive as those adverts may sometimes feel, there is no doubting the convenience in being able to easily click through to a special offer for something you genuinely need or want and that you may have otherwise missed.
Web 3.0 provides a far more personalised browsing experience for all of us. Websites can automatically customise themselves to best fit our device, location and any accessibility requirements we may have and web apps will become far more attuned to our usage habits.
2. Better search
As noted previously, the ability to speak in natural language with a search engine is incredibly powerful. The learning curve becomes almost non-existent, and the benefits extend far beyond the consumer; businesses will increasingly be able to take a more natural approach to the search engine optimisation on their websites, rather than resorting to tricky keyword strategies.
3. Richer app experiences
It isn’t just websites that will benefit from the multifaceted Web 3.0 – web apps will also start to offer far richer experiences for users.
Consider a mapping service like Google, which is now able to combine the basics of location search with route guidance, hotel recommendations and live traffic updates. This simply wasn’t possible in the Web 2.0 era.
Just as the Internet of Things (IoT) is gradually creating a more digitally-centric, connected society, Web 3.0 is removing any lingering complexity from the web and making it more accessible for a greater number of people.
What’s more, Web 3.0 is here – now. We’re in the early stages of some forms of Web 3.0 technology, but if you’ve conducted a search on Google today and used natural language to find an answer to your question, you have already experienced the benefits of this next chapter in the story of the World Wide Web.