Product & Startup Builder

Web 2.0 - Nothing to see here... moving right along...

Added on by Chris Saad.
A lot of people are reading and writing about Web 3.0 again - Spurred by Alex's post on RRW.

I, myself, have written about Web 3.0 late last year. Here's an excerpt:
Web 3.0? Are you serious? Apparently a lot of people are. More than I imagined. It seems from the search results, though, Web 3.0 is some sort of Web 2.0 - except with more of everything. More mainstream users, more revenue (or finding a way to get revenue in the first place), more programmable etc.
To summarize - I thought it was a silly idea.

I was going to ignore the subject this time until I read a post by Peter Rip. I love this quote:

"VCs have always made money at finding the ideal point of friction between the Present and the Future. Profits accumulate in the gap between What Is and What Is Possible. Web 2.0 is now firmly in the category of What Is."

The quote caught my eye because one or two VCs I have spoken to (and an awful lot of investor types are always fishing around) make the statement "oh it's too early for this kind of thing" (this kind of thing being a focus on Attention as a consumer tool). It always makes me laugh.

I think Peter is spot on. I too am tired of all the 'me too' services out there. They are so unoriginal. In many cases the winners have been decided.

I do have a problem, however, with claiming that Web 3.0 is all about web services. Web services are an old idea and APIs are already part of the Web 2.0 evolution. So to claim that they are part of Web 3.0 is a bit like saying 'HTML is part of Web 2.0'.

APIs are here to stay. Screen scraping will reduce over time as apps either play nice or die. But I don't think that broader adoption of APIs is a sufficient paradigm change (at least on its own) to justify a new version number.

So to summarize:

  • Web 0.5 was about communication - Chat/Email.
  • Web 1.0 was about one way publishing - CMS/Portals - Corporates came first and they declared their message to us poor users. Community was relegated to a second class citizen on forums (if at all)
  • Web 2.0 was about two way publishing - Blogs/YouTube/Digg - The community (specifically the individual acting as part of a community) become a first class citizen. The web became personal.

I am not sure Web 3.0 is coming. At least not any time soon. Instead I think the next big opportunity is Media 2.0.

I think that Web 2.0 was merely an overdue adjustment in our thinking. It was a realization that the web is not just another broadcast medium. That broadcasting radio/TV/print over TCP/IP was not the point or the promise of this new platform. It was a realization that interaction models that empowered the audience to become the most important part of the ecosystem was the actual point of the medium.

It's like when TV grew up and stopped doing radio plays and started doing lifelike drama.

I think the next revolution is the web transforming other forms of media. That is, creating interaction models that go beyond the web (or extend the web into more places and form factors). It's about the web transforming traditional TV, Radio and Print to become more interactive. It's about democratizing the mainstream - not just on the web - but everywhere.