If you’ve been watching the digital space, chances are you’ve heard a lot of talk about “Web 3.0” or “Web 3”. Like many though, you’re probably wondering, “What exactly is it, and what does it mean for my business?”
The answer is that Web 3.0 is the future of the web. Its name is derived from the fact that it marks the third generation of the internet.
Although the exact definition of Web 3.0 can vary depending on who you ask, there’s one thing that’s for certain: it’s going to completely change the internet as we know it.
Before we get into the specifics of what we can expect to see from this new ecosystem, let’s first take a look at how the internet has changed over time, so that we can better understand what makes Web 3.0 different.
The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Since its initial conception, the internet has evolved through three separate generations.
Web 1.0 (also known as Web 1 or the Static Web) was the first generation of the internet, which came about in the 1990s.
This version of the internet was much more basic and far less interactive than the one we know today, as it was mainly made up of read-only pages that allowed you to read and publish basic content. Most of these pages were run by individuals, small groups, and small to mid-sized businesses, rather than the big tech companies of today.
With Web 1.0, navigation typically occurred through links in directories, with there being very little in the way of search engine optimisation or information-finding algorithms.
By the mid-2000s, the web had moved on to Web 2.0 (also known as Web 2 or the Social Web), which is the version of the internet that we know today.
This version of the internet was far more interactive than the previous one, as it allowed people to edit, engage with, and create their own content rather than just viewing it. For example, with Web 2.0, people were able use their web browsers to post in the comments sections of websites, as well as on online marketplaces, social networking sites, and other interactive platforms, rather than simply reading existing webpages.
The Web 2.0 era also saw the rise of tech giants like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, who essentially “took over” the internet. With this came increasing concerns from internet users about privacy, and how their data and content was being used.
That brings us to Web 3.0 (also known as Web 3 or the Semantic Web), which is where the internet is headed. This generation of the web looks to create a more democratised, decentralised, peer-to-peer web (as with Web 1.0), rather than the more centralised and corporatised internet that has been created with Web 2.0. This would give control back to individual internet users, and make them less dependent on the larger companies and internet giants who currently “run” the web.
It also aims to address many of the privacy and data concerns surrounding Web 2.0 by empowering people to “take back control” over how their data and content is being used.
To do this, Web 3.0 observes a blockchain-based model. The idea is that people can purchase non-fungible tokens or other types of cryptocurrency, which then act as shares that represent people’s ownership in different networks of the internet. As “shareholders”, internet users are then entitled to have a say in how the networks are operated, and on matters like how their personal data and content is being used.
Web 3.0 also uses artificial intelligence technologies to make search engines more “human”, so that each user’s browsing experience can be more closely customised and personalised.
An example of this would be Apple’s Siri, which uses speech recognition and artificial intelligence to personalise the user’s experience. This is probably one of the most famous examples of Web 3.0 technologies that are currently being used by businesses.
Web 3.0 will also use artificial intelligence technology to detect and prevent abuse by bots and spammers, fake ratings and reviews, and manipulation from click farms – all of which are big issues with Web 2.0.
In addition, Web 3.0 will facilitate the development of a more diverse range of smart devices (rather than just smartphones, computers, tablets, and laptops), so that the internet can be accessed by anyone at any time and from anywhere.
Finally, it will improve spatial web and graphics technologies to support the development of futuristic and immersive virtual worlds (not just for gaming, but also to heighten the online consumer experience across a range of other sectors, such as health and retail).
Although Web 3.0 is a relatively new concept, already, we are seeing more and more websites and businesses shift over to it as the digital world continues to change and evolve. There’s a good chance that your business might do so too in future, which is why it’s so important that you understand the features and opportunities presented by the rise of Web 3.0.