Toward a web 3.0?

The web 2.0 has just hardly shown us its potential that we are beginning to think about it’s next iteration: web 3.0.

Is this mysterious web 3.0 a reality? No, not at all. Is it timely to talk about it right now? Yes, because foundations of a new era of online services are being shaped.

To have a sharper understanding of the stakes of this (hypothetical) web 3.0, it is important to look at ancient models, to compare them with actual models (web 2.0 oriented) and to anticipate a near future.

Web 1.0: an integrate experience

The first version of the modern web, the one corresponding to the end of the 90’s (I am disregarding the laborious beginning of the web),is basically based upon an integrated experience from beginning to end by big actors.



If we take the example of choosing and buying a cultural product (a book or a CD), one of the most complex online experience, we can see that actors like Amazon are present on every link of the value chain:

  • products’ discovery within home or orientation pages ;
  • evaluation with users’ notes and reviews ;
  • purchase with wish lists or shopping cart ;
  • payment thanks to an integrated service.

Web 2.0: a collaborative and destructured experience

If we now look at power users, they have access to a much wider array of online information sources and merchant services. Those stands as new links which substitute for older ones in the value chain:



We are now observing major shifts in the user experience:

  • products are discovered in blogs, social networks, on recommendations engines like Pandora or within shopping community like ShopWiki ;
  • choice can be validated on social shopping portals like Crowdstorm or on specialized sites like LibraryThing (for books) or Yahoo! Tech (for gadgets) ;
  • purchase can be made on shopping engines like the ones provided by Amazon (aStore), eBay (eBay Stores) or Zlio ;
  • payment can be made thanks to deported systems like PayPal or Google Checkout.

Web 3.0: an immersive and extended experience

If we anticipate growing innovating services, we can again identify new links for the value chain which is no longer limited to the web:



Users’ buying experience will be more immersive but also extended outside of web browsers:

  • products’ discovery could be made inside virtual worlds (like the ones from Habbo Hotel and Second Life), inside online gaming network (like World of Warcraft or Xbox Live) or thanks to widgets (like those provided by Apple’s Dashboard or Yahoo! Widget) ;
  • products’ evaluation could be based on independent services which relies on universal reputation management systems (as those provided by BazaarVoice, iKarma or Rapleaf) ;
  • purchase could be made on merchant mashups like Cooqy or through connected applications like the Mozilla Amazon Browser ;
  • finally, payment could be directly handled by the operating system (by using the upcoming CardSpace in Vista), on other devices (like mobile devices with Mobile PayPal) or with virtual means of payment (Linden Dollars for example, since banks are working hard on providing banking services in Second Life).

What about semantic web?

A recent article published in the NY Times (Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense) describes web 3.0 as the semantic web. It’s an interesting vision, but let me remind you that semantic languages like RDF are being in use for years. Many other initiatives have been developed to structure data and information: syndication with RSS, forms with XForms, financial reports with XBRL, digital identity with FOAF, microformats…

Adding an operational semantic layer to the web is a huge work, which will require years (decades?), furthermore this work could be slow down with recent progress made by search engines and databases which can enable similar usage as those described in the article.

To conclude with this semantic issue, let me precise that semantic layers are especially relevant to softwares and systems, which means semantic technologies doesn’t appeal to end users (the ones which are responsible for the web 2.0 revolution).

When can we expect a web 3.0?

For the moment, it is too early to make a sharp prediction, all the more since my comparison is limited to the web’s merchant side, which is far from reflecting is richness. For printing purpose, you can find a bigger overhaul schema here: Web 3.0.

But what is certain, is the fact that we will progressively migrate a part of our usage from online services to connected applications (thanks to RDA or widgets) or mobile devices. Likewise, digital identity management will take a far more bigger importance.

Thus, behaviours regarding online information or services will shift from web (HTML pages) to internet (connected applications). So it is wiser to talk about internet 3.0 than web 3.0.

Un commentaire sur “Toward a web 3.0?

  1. Pour ce qui est d’un avant gout de web 3.0 (en francais ;)) dans le domaine de l’identité numérique, je pense que Ziki est plutot une solution pragmatique a tout ces soucis d’émergence de son image ou de ses services en ligne. On va passer de la syndication de contenus à la syndication de service. Ca me rappelle l’interview que l’on avais faite chez philippe sur l’avenir du rss.

  2. Fred I tried this on my blog but you need much more time if you want to write in french and english as well ; actually I think it’s possible to write only in 1 language at the same time, because if you start with english you will loose interest and readers in french.. except if you have twice the actual time you have to put on blogging.. It can works partially actually if you blog only on some interesting special topics like the one above..

  3. Thankl you Vince for this advice. The fact is that… I never intend to write in booth French and English. Translating this post in English is just a way to find new « ears » (« eyes »?). /Fred

  4. Ce qui caractérise entre autre le bobo parigo: Il ne sait pas aligner deux mots d’anglais !! hHeureusement d’ailleurs car sinon on pourrait croire qu’il est intelligent !!

  5. Merci Fred. Toujours à la pointe du net… Mais est-ce que nos e-marchands le sont? As-tu des exemples de mises en oeuvre concrètes de stratégie Web 2.0? Merci pour toutes ces infos.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this article. While the NY Times got things stirred up, Web 3.0 and the semantic web need exploration and explanation. I also gave it a shot in a recent post…but it takes more pieces like this to get everyone behind it – while all being on the same page.

  7. I feel that Web 3.0 will be a fundamental tectonic shift in how human intelligence is leveraged across the Web. We will cooperate anonymously through a tightly connected network of A.I. assistants acting on our behalf. This will result in a huge improvement in the reduction of duplicate effort and a massive leveraging of human pattern recogntion capabilities not possible before Web 3.0 I cover this in depth in my Web 3.0 blog in my latest post: Robert

  8. Very insightful article Fred, the last line “So it is wiser to talk about internet 3.0 than web 3.0.,” summed it all up with a mental picture that gives wings to thought. You certainly have my ears! Alan.

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