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October 04, 2007

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Comments

Norman

Still a great vision for the wired world. the webos will come faster than we think.

Michael Sheeley

Before we get to web 3.0, I think we need to figure out web 2.0. Web 1.0 took us years to realize that Brick and Mortar was the solution. Now web 2.0 is here and we are learning how our customers can help improve our businesses online. On my blog, www.sheeleytech.com,I write about the idea of Web2.0 and Mortar.

Nova Spivack

Tim -- I would actually say that I agree with much of what you state above. EXCEPT for one thing. The Semantic Web is completely orthogonal to the issue of collective intelligence. It can in fact be used as a better backend for existing "Web 2.0" folksonomies, or it could be used for expert systems. It would not be technically correct to say that Semantic Web is not about statistics or about deriving structure from what is already there in the data -- The Semantic Web is just a way of encoding whatever it is that you know (it could have been derived, or not). So you could use statistics, or mining, or the wisdom of crowds, to markup data -- but then where do you store and share what you have learned about that data? The Semantic Web proposes a richer framework for storing and publishing that metadata. It is completely independent of how the metadata is generated. Using string tags and microformats, or XML tags for that mater, are just different ways of marking up data. RDF and OWL are also just different ways of marking up data -- but they are BETTER ways of doing it. They have much more power, they are more open, they are more extensible, they support bottom-up collective intelligence better in fact.

Tim O'Reilly

Alas, I find the Web 3.0 arguments as clear evidence that the proponents don't understand Web 2.0 at all. Web 2.0 is not about front end technologies. It's precisely about back-end, and it's about meaning and intelligence in the back end.

The real difference between Web 2.0 and the semantic web is that the Semantic Web seems to think we need to add new kinds of markup to data in order to make it more meaningful to computers, while Web 2.0 seeks to identify areas where the meaning is already encoded, albeit in hidden ways. E.g. Google found meaning in link structure (a natural RDF triple); Wesabe is finding it in spending patterns.

There are sites (geni.com comes to mind) that create narrow-purpose cases where people add structured meaning, and I think we'll find lots more of these. But I think that the big difference is in the amount of noise you accept in your meaningful data, and whether you think grammar evolves from data or is imposed upon it. Web 2.0 applications are fundamentally statistical in nature, collective intelligence as derived from lots and lots of input at global scale.

See my various posts on Web 2.0 vs. the Semantic Web.

Meanwhile, Web 2.0 was a pretty crappy name for what's happening (Microsoft's name, Live Software, is probably the best description of what's happening), so I don't see why we'd want to increment it to Web 3.0. But when people ask me what I think Web 3.0 will be, I don't think of the semantic web at all.

What are things that will give a qualitative leap beyond what we experience today?

I think it's the breaking of the keyboard/screen paradigm, and the world in which collective intelligence emerges not from people typing on keyboards but from the instrumentation of our activities.

In this sense, I'd say that Wesabe and Mint, which turn our credit card into a sensor telling us about tracks we're leaving in the real world, or Jaiku, which turns our phone into a sensor for a smart address book, or Norwich Union's "Pay as you drive" insurance, are more early signals of something I'd call "Web 3.0" than Semantic Web applications are.

Let's just call the Semantic Web the Semantic Web, and not muddy the water by trying to call it Web 3.0, especially when the points of contrast are actually the same points that I used to distinguish Web 2.0 from Web 1.5. (I've always said that Web 2.0 = Web 1.0, with the dot com bust being a side trip that got it wrong.)

Charles Knight

"Fools rush in..."

My definitions are:

Web 1.0 One-Dimensional - Google search results that are linear.
(e.g. a Ruler)

Web 2.0 Two-Dimensional - Image Maps www.KartOO.com.
(e.g. a Road Map)

Web 3.0 Three-Dimensional - See SpaceTime 3D Search or Second Life. (e.g. a Globe)

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