Revisiting Web 5.0
In November 2008, I wrote an article entitled, “Web 3.0, Web 4.0, and Web 5.0. That’s right.” Now seemed like a good opportunity to re-post that long-range speculation, and check in on how I’m doing. I’ll also write a separate post about where I stand now, and what I think I’ve missed already. All in all, especially given the uncertainty that reigned at the time, I’m pretty proud of how I’ve fared thus far (see bullets 1 and 2). Here’s what I wrote, word-for-word:
With the economy in the dumps, it seems like a weird time to be thinking about what the next big tech booms will be. What’s more, we’re only half-way through Web 2.0. That said, one of the best times to invest and build something new is during a downturn. Plus, I want to put a stake in the ground.
The economy will pick up… at some point. And when it does, here’s my take on what the landscape will look like. (I’m ignoring broader tech trends like clean tech and biotech for the sake of scope and sanity.) These exercises can tend to be exercises in wild-eyed optimism/ inevitable futility, but hopefully this analysis can be useful to folks in thinking through potential scenarios.
- Web 2.0 will mature, with subscription-based and credit-based business models offering real revenue to companies. Advertising will also become more sophisticated, but will no longer be synonymous with “Web 2.0 business model.” On the back-end, cloud computing will also expand to support these businesses and interactions.
- The location-aware, geo-based, mobile web will become a reality. It will use the same infrastructure as the “normal web,” but pundits won’t call it Web 3.0 (for that, see below). Widespread location awareness will open up a whole host of applications, many long-promised: real-time social networking, geo-tagged information, context-specific offers, the end of privacy…
- Concurrent with the rise of powerful location-based services, “Web 3.0″ will become a buzzword. The buzz behind the buzz will be the “Semantic Web.” Semantic browsing (with commentators howling that “browsing” is no longer appropriate as a term) will enable us to navigate the digital world with context and filters. Keyword searching will no longer be the dominant mode of surfing the web. Instead, developers will turn their attention to creating meaning out of all of the information out there. Tagging, metadata, collaborative filtering, personalized feeds, term extraction APIs, data visualization, and contextual search are all leading indicators — and just the tip of the iceberg.
- The following tech generation will be defined by the seamless combination of the Mobile Web and the Semantic Web. My guess is that this will be where the “Web x.0″ label runs out of steam. Hardware will re-capture the spotlight in a big way. Fabled advances such as the Connected Home, Wearable Tech, the KITT car, and the personal butler assistant voice command thing will actually become reality.
- After this, the web becomes so embedded that it becomes less interesting to talk about it as a separate entity. And I wouldn’t know what to speculate anyway.
Not bad, so far. Web 3.0 (the Semantic Web) is a little behind the rise of the mobile web… but I think I’m most worried about my statement: “The economy will pick up… at some point”!