Unfortunately, the Web 3.0 propaganda machine is well underway (upcoming Web 3.0 conference). We knew it was inevitable. The powerful uptake of the Web 2.0 moniker made the lure of 3.0 irresistible. Watch as they try to make Web 3.0 appear out of thin air.
It is critical to remember that Web 2.0 was not a new release of the world wide web. It wasn’t even a prediction. Tim O’reilly observed that the web had evolved and he named it Web 2.0. Unfortunately, and probably unintentionally he created the eventual demand for Web 3.0 (I even had a client ask what I thought Web 4.0 would be).
As soon as the Web 2.0 term caught on several communities began competing for the Web 3.0 term (virtual worlds, ubiquitous computing, context-oriented web, agent-based web, personalized web, semantic web, etc.). The conference above is the semantic web community’s move at owning the Web 3.0 moniker. The semantic web technologies and concepts have been around since at least 2001 (pre-dating Web 2.0 by about 3 years). Maybe they think they can accelerate their agenda by capturing the Web 3.0 term. This is purely a marketing move.
A focus on Web 3.0 is destructive for several reasons.
- At this point we are stuck with the Web 2.0 term and we have gone to great pains to define it in a meaningful way. The Web 3.0 term takes mind share from important Web 2.0 work that needs to get done and makes it seem as though Web 2.0 is old (which certainly is far from the case).
- The Web 3.0 term misleads organizations by implying that a new version of the web is upon us. It now will unproductively consume resources in defining and trying to understand a term for something that doesn’t exist. This inevitably will lead to mass confusion in the industry.
- It distracts organizations from exploring the many important ways the web is evolving and examining when and how those evolutions can deliver value to their organizations.
In our “Hype Cycle for Web and User Interaction Technologies, 2008” research (subscription or fee required) we cautioned against using the term Web 3.0 and focus on distinct evolving web capabilities.
Unfortunately for the semantic web proponents, and the rest of us, no one can claim ownership of Web 3.0. If Web 3.0 does materialize we won’t know it until it is already here.