Friday, December 18, 2009

What is Web 3.0?

The Next Generation Web: Search Context for Online Information

The war of words between technology evangelists about Web 3.0 continues and, in particular, a series of blog posts were exchanged between Tim O’Reilly and Nova Spivack about the merits of Web 3.0.

What Is the Difference Between Web 3.0 and Web 2.0?

While O’Reilly believes that Web 3.0 is an extension of Web 2.0, Spivak - regarded as a champion of the term Web 3.0 - believes it will be a third generation web approximately between 2010 and 2020. In order to understand Web 3.0, we must balance it against the existing Web 2.0. In the Web 2.0 universe, searching Google for “Gary Price” will yield a plethora of unrelated hits. Web 3.0 solves this problem by providing context to searching for online information.

Intelligent Web

Web 2.0 is about social networking and mass collaboration with the blurring of lines between content creator and user whereas Web 3.0 is based on “intelligent” web applications using:

* Natural language processing
* Machine-based learning and reasoning
* Intelligent applications

The goal is to tailor online searching and requests specifically to users’ preferences and needs. Although the intelligent web sounds similar to artificial intelligence, it’s not quite the same.


Web 3.0 is about openness. By “opening” application programming interfaces (APIs), protocols, data formats, open-source software platforms and open data, you open up possibilities for creating new tools. Although Unlike openness can result in identity theft, Web 3.0 attempts to remedy this through:

* Open identity
* OpenID
* Open reputation
* The ability for roaming portable identity and personal data.


By opening up access to information, Web 3.0 applications can run on any device, computer, or mobile phone. Applications can be very fast and customizable. Unlike Web 2.0, where programs such as Facebook and MySpace exist in separate silos, Web 3.0 allows users to roam freely from database to database, program to program.

A Global Database

Conceptually, Web 3.0 should be viewed as one large database. Dubbed "The Data Web", web 3.0 uses structured data records published to the Web in reusable and remote-queriable formats. XML technologies such as RDF Schema, OWL, SPARQL will make this possible by allowing information to be read across different programs across the web.

3D Web & Beyond

Web 3.0 will use a three dimensional model and transform it into a series of 3D spaces. Services such as Second Life and the use of personalized avatars will be a common feature of the 3D web. Web 3.0 will extend beyond into the physical; imagine a Web connected to everything not only your cellphone but your car, microwave and clothes, thus truly making for an integrated experience.
Control of Information

Where Web 3.0 is about control of information web 2.0 is about information overload. The most obvious example is in the sheer explosion of programs and passwords on the Web which claim to encourage networking and socialization. Web 3.0 attempts to bring order and allow users to be more accurate in searching and finding precisely what they want.

Semantic Web versus Web 3.0?

What is most confusing is the difference between the Semantic Web and Web 3.0 – both are conceptual entities. However, rather than competing spaces they should be viewed as successive layers that are developing. By adding the semantic web to Web 2.0, we move conceptually closer to web 3.0. The underlying technologies of the Semantic Web, which enrich content and the intelligence of the social web, pulls in user profiles and identities, and must be combined for Web 3.0 to work.


Nova Spivack’s Twine is one of the first online services to use Web 3.0 technologies. Its goal is to organize, share and discover information about a user’s interests in networks of like-minded people. Using semantic technologies, and powered by semantic understanding, Twine automatically organizes information, learns about users’ specific interests and makes recommendations. The more users use Twine, the better the service gets to know its users and the more useful it becomes. Twine is an example of Web 3.0 at work, combining the social elements of Web 2.0 with user-specific Semantic Web tools.

Read more at Suite101: What is Web 3.0?: The Next Generation Web: Search Context for Online Information |

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