10 July 2008

The web as is stands (Web1.0) is seen as a "static" thing, like a billboard or a magazine. You can see lots of billboards, buy lots of magazines, enjoy or dislike them but they stay the same until they are changed by the publisher. "Web2.0 applications" are ones that are "user-generated" or "user-shaped". Instead of being "published" by someone, the people using the site "publish" the content. They also market it and edit it. Famous examples of "Web2.0 applications" already in use and much talked about are Flickr for photographs, Wikipedia for encyclopedia articles, Facebook for maintaining friendships, YouTube for seeing young people mugging to videocameras and Answers.com for combining syndicated elements of these with its own user-generated Q&A section.
Web 1.0 is like a kind of platform where there are new releases of it. But there is nothing like a new release for the existing ones in web 2.0. Web 2.0 is a kind of service oriented. Web 1.0 was about publishing, not participation; that advertisers, not consumers, ought to call the shots; that size mattered, and that the internet was increasingly being dominated by the top websites. Web 2.0 helps to increase the participation of the users like blogs, e-commerce websites, torrents etc, where every user gets a chance to publish in a website one way or the other. For Ex: Napster (though shut down for legal reasons) built its network not by building a centralized song database, but by architecting a system in such a way that every downloader also became a server, and thus grew the network.

Now to look into the upcoming movements, Web 3.0. It is difficult to define what Web 3.0 will be as you cannot define something that has yet to occur on a large scale. The best way I can define what we will see with this movement is the integration of data on the internet. Now that the data is online thanks to Web 1.0 and sites can share data through API’s and social networks (Web 2.0), the next obvious direction is to do something with this massive amount of data we have available. A common way of describing this is the use of internet as a platform. With Web 3.0 applications we will see the data being integrated and applying it into innovative ways that were never possible before. Imagine taking things from Amazon, integrating it with data from Google and then building a site that would define your shopping experience based on a combination of Google Trends and New Products. This is just a random (possibly horrible) example of what Web 3.0 applications will harness. An illustration would be to draw nodes to represent all the sites on the internet and then draw a new node. Draw lines from all those existing nodes into the one you just created. The consumption and presentation of the data is what Web 3.0 will potentially be.