I’ve blogged about this before – for some reason (not that I would have an influence), it still hasn’t stuck. We are officially in Web 3.0. Why do I say this?
I define 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and any major computer change as a change in platforms. Back in the day we saw major platform changes from Unix, Apple II, to the IBM PC and Microsoft Windows. All these were major platform shifts, accepted by the general population. People are stuck in trying to define 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, etc. as marketing terms surrounding the general consumer, when in fact they aren’t. A 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 release is usually a major architecture change instantiated by the developers, and branded by a marketing or business staff.
So let’s look at Web 2.0. Web 2.0 started making a name for itself at the launch of Gmail, YouTube, Flickr and maybe even sites such as del.icio.us, and Digg. What was special about these sites? They all utilized AJAX, a relatively new platform which allowed developers to create desktop “clients” on top of the previous, 1.0 web platform. Around this same time came Adobe’s Flex, another similar platform which accomplished the same purpose. Add to that Google’s Gears and Adobe’s Air, (and maybe even the soon-to-come Mozilla products), developers now had the capability to provide media-rich, client-side platforms that have the ability to communicate with the web all through a single web browser or web communications platform. This was a major change from the previous web architecture of only being able to shift from page to page to get what you wanted your applications to do on the web.
Over the last year or two, as some of the Web 2.0 applications have released social capabilities – sites such as Classmates (not a platform), LinkedIn, Hi5, MySpace, and Facebook. Users have embraced many of these sites, and have begun to utilize these sites as their own “personal internet”, allowing them to view what their friends are doing, keep track of relationships, business contacts, and use the internet at a much more personalized level. Some of those have released APIs to the platform controlling the social capabilities within their own architectures. These APIs, such as OpenSocial and the Facebook Platform bring an entirely new level to these social websites, giving access to hundreds of millions of individual internet users. Now, through an entirely open methodology, developers, like never before have access to an entirely new internet, inaccessible before, that brings completely new customers, a much more personalized audience, and a completely new method of application development. Social API, my friends, is Web 3.0.
What will Web 4.0 be? I predict the cell phone market – perhaps through phones such as the iPhone and just announced Android architecture. There are more than a billion cell phones out there, at an even more personalized level than even the social networks can provide!