Web 3.0, Part 2


Recently I posted on an article appearing the New York Times on Web 3.0. The next step after collaboration (or social networking described as Web 2.0) is interpreting content to make meaningful decisions. This has been labelled by some as Web 3.0.

Bill Burnham, in a post entitled Search + State + Metadata = A Search Application states:


Seeing The Forest for The Trees
The real green field in search today is not trying to find the tree, it is in trying to understand the forest. The forest, is the vast interconnected sea of web of sites that make up the web and the flows of information that constantly course through it. Once you can see this forest and observe how it changes over time, you can begin to derive insights and information that simply are not possible to discern with a single query.


The forest is the context to interpret how individual data points relate, so one can make effective decisions.


For example, at Vast.com, if you search for a specific used car, say an Audi, on the left hand side of the page you not only see all of the Audi S4’s for sale, but also the median mileage and median price of all those cars. This meta data (the medians) is not found in the search results, but produced by analyzing the aggregate results.


In an entry Web “Me2.0” — Exploding the Myth of Web 2.0, Spivack, provokes discussion with statements such as:


Web 2.0 is a myth — there is no Web 2.0. It’s just the same Web, with more social features, tagging and AJAX. And so far Web 2.0 has not been very impressive. Not only that but the majority of “long-tail” Web 2.0 apps that are flooding the market will all be gone in a few years. It’s really easy for anyone to throw some AJAX on a page, add some tags, and make a nice UI. But that’s not enough to create lasting value. Worse still, many of the Web 2.0 apps that are now emerging are simply versions of earlier ones — I call this phenomenon “Web me2.0” (Web me-too-dot-oh).


The perspective of the entry is on the underlying technology:


Personal publishing is still not even close the sophistication of desktop publishing in 1989. Not only are the authoring tools primitive, but as for formatting or layout, or content management…that’s not even an option (the little rich-text tool I am writing this in does not count).


This is an interesting insight. If the technology is inferior to what has been in place in the past then why is there so much hype? In an earlier posting, The Semantic Web is About Helping People Use the Web More Productively, Spivack makes the point.


The Semantic Web is just a way to augment and improve the EXISTING Web and all the existing relationships, groups, communities, social networks, user-experiences, apps, content, and online services on it. It doesn’t replace the Web we have, it just makes it smarter. It doesn’t replace human intelligence and decision-making, it just augments human thinking, so that individuals and groups can overcome the growing complexity of information overload on the Web.


It’s not about the technology. As usual, as with every change in technology, it is what you do with it that counts. Yet like moths, so many focus on the light, not what you can see with it.

Yet in most of the posts I see, there remains a focus on a path defined by technical enhancement. In that context, it is quite understandable that a sequence of evolution of the web makes little sense as each step may introduce very different technologies. What about a path bounded by individual enablement. If enablement is driven first by access, then how does that play out?

  1. Access to information and services
  2. Matching available information and services to needs
  3. Making decisions and choices based on what is available

I’m not sure that this model has changed significantly over the millenia. What has changed is the amount of information and the number of services available. Technology, by providing easier access and mobility, has served to further increase this scale from local to global, and can serve to help one cut through the volume. But we can loose sight of the purpose: access; find and use.



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