Cookies and Capacitors

The elder Web

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:08PM

When the World Wide Web was first invented in the late 1980s, it was designed to present textual information. Sure, in the following years pictures and video were added, but the basic premise was to present information.

Following the first ‘Internet’ came Web 2.0. Social media revolutionized the way people interacted with each other. With the introduction of popular Web sites, starting with Friendster and Myspace, people started posting information about themselves publicly for their now and future friends to see. The Web wasn’t just a place to post and read, it was now a place to collaborate and bring the social experience of real-life home.

Now, we have monumental amounts of data available only a few taps on the keyboard away. But there’s so much data, it’s getting more and more difficult to interpret quickly.

Currently, we’re entering the third generation of the Web. Very soon, we’re going to see the personalization and tailoring of data to individuals. As an example, take a look at the following video, made by HP, tailoring patient data to doctors.

I believe more will go on, though. Recently, there has been talk of the ‘Semantic Web’ which IBM’s Watson computer demonstrates the best. Once machines and humans can understand each other with natural language, the entire game will change. Content creation will become easier, publication will become cheaper, but most importantly consumption will be tailored to the reader therefore saving tens of hours every week per person in reading ‘junk’ articles and headlines with no relation to that reader’s habits or interests. For this reason, Facebook, Twitter, Google–all these Web 2.0 technologies are going to become the driving force (and data services) of the third Web generation. These companies already have petabytes of information on their users. This allows for more-targeted advertising which is the basis of Internet site funding, which benefits these social media companies. They’re already too big to compete with on the basis of already existing Web 2.0 structure. A new paradigm, though, will enable new start-ups to form and will undoubtedly bring these giants to their knees.

This is what Web 3.0 relies on. So far, the Internet has conveyed old types of media–text, video, audio–which have existed for many years already. Just like written text was once invented, the next wave of technology will be, too. Young inventors always bring big corporations to their knees, just like the giants did when they were once young.