Having been around for over a decade, you would ask what exactly is Web 3.0? For that, we would first need to understand what Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are.
Comparison between Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0?
Web 1.0 – The Static Web
Web 1.0, also known as the “read-only web”, is the earliest form of the internet. Starting from the first web page that was launched by CERN and went live in 1991, the web ended in 2005. The early web comprises people creating content and web pages that are mainly composed of hyperlinks. The web allows readers access to information, facts, and contents, even so with a lack of user interaction and visuals.
Web 1.0 is circled around “content sharing” and is desirably the internet that allows for the potential growth of digital communication and information sharing that we are seeing today.
Web 2.0 – The Participative Social Web
Web 2.0, also known as the “read-write web”, was coined around 2004. The centralised nature of the web is focused on the ease of use, interactivity, user-generated content (UGC), and improved interoperability with other systems. An example is the introduction of Application Programme Interface (API) which allows applications to communicate with each other and eventually, establish a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. The web shows a shift from static to a more dynamic web that offers real-time, two-way interactive communication between the content creator and the readers.
Predominantly, Web 2.0 is the current version of the internet that wraps around the term “content user” and is the offering of a platform to the people who want to take part in the information. For instance, the TikTok and YouTube platform which relies on users’ submissions.
Web 3.0 – The Semantic Web
The internet was initially intended to provide equal information access to data. However, tech giants like Meta and Google have been collecting users’ data and exploiting it for their monetary benefit. Hence, the growth of Web 3.0.
Web 3.0, also known as the “read, write and own web”, is currently still evolving and being defined. Regardless, what is clear is that the web will be equally disruptive and cause a paradigm shift, just like Web 2.0. The advances of Web 3.0 have also defined a few features, such as decentralisation, trustless and permissionless, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), and, last, connectivity and ubiquity.
The decentralisation nature of the web will ensure the return of ownership and control back to the user who created the data. This is through the reliance on blockchain technology.
Compared to a typical database such as Dropbox or Google Drive, the Web 3.0 database will store data in structured public blocks. Once these blocks of information have been stored fully, they will be strung together to form a chain. With the chains intact and running on the network, it would mean that the data stored is distributed across various networks and no single entity owns the information. The information stored cannot be altered, destroyed, or deleted. With that, it also eliminates the need for a central authority to guard and manage these data. This is akin to a replica of several carriages forming part of a train. Ultimately, the blockchain technology used will provide the users with greater control.
A timestamp will be given and will function as a Proof-of-Work (POW) that the block of information exists as of a particular date and time, establishing the users’ ownership.
Trustless and Permissionless
Leveraging blockchain technology, the web will also offer users the freedom to interact and engage publicly or privately in the network without any authorisation from a governing body. These features will enhance the user experience by giving control and autonomy.
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Focusing on user utility, future websites and applications will be integrated with the ability to process and interpret information in a human-like manner. This is by incorporating technology like ML and AI. Such examples already exist and apply to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Samsung’s Bixby, where speech recognition techniques and AI is used to search and deliver results to the user.
Connectivity and Ubiquity
To improve the user experience, information on Web 3.0 will be even more interconnected as it will be readily available and accessible to the user anytime, on any device compared to Web 2.0, especially so with the Internet of Things (IoT).
For Web 3.0 to reach its full potential, it would still require a lot of work to be done. The new internet is the next stage of computing innovation and will bring about a more intelligent human-like assistance, connected and autonomous internet for the users. As such, customising a user’s browsing experience to another level and centering on the term “content owner” and removing control from centralised power of tech giants.