What Is Web 3.0? [2023 guide to Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0]

Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0 vs. Web 3.0

To understand what Web 3.0 is, or could be, we must first look at what Web 1.0 and 2.0 were; After all, how do we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been?

Web 1.0: the past

Web 1.0, the first publicly available Internet, is the web that emerged in the late 90s. If you were around those days, you probably remember the screeching of modems and that weird bouncy sound. You probably also remember having to pay per minute for your bandwidth, and that you couldn’t use the Internet and the phone (of course, a landline) at the same time.

The web was also very different. In general, it was much more static. Websites were generally not very interactive, they just displayed information. The hyperlinks that directed you to other pages, whether on or off the site, were as interactive as possible. He visited a site, read some information, saw some images and that was it; You will see that it is known as the read-only web.

Web 1.0 was also highly decentralized, with most sites owned by real individuals or companies. While there were some Internet-only businesses, these were more the exception than the rule. That said, while the internet back then may have been static, in some ways it was much more varied than it is now, with people trying new things all the time.

Web 2.0: the present

At some point, the read-only web became a read-write web. As with all gradual changes, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when it occurred. However, we can safely say that it was underway in 2004, when the term Web 2.0 was popularized by entrepreneur Tim O’Reilly during the Web 2.0 Summits he organized from 2004 to 2011.

tim oreilly 2008

Tim O’Reilly in 2008.

Instead of being a place where you would collect information and then leave, the web became a place where you could interact with sites. You could still find information, of course, but the obstacles to creating your own content were greatly reduced.

For example, something as common as a Facebook wall, where Internet users can leave a post and then others can give feedback on it, would have been impossible under the Web 1.0 paradigm. However, in Web 2.0, these types of interactions are commonplace.

Corporate takeover of web pages

However, a shadow is cast over Web 2.0: while Web 1.0 often felt like something thrown together by hobbyists in a spirit of fun, Web 2.0 is much more corporate. Many of the sites hailed as examples of the new wave, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, are also responsible for changing the web in ways no one could have foreseen.

For example, while the web was never free of surveillance, the massive networks built by tech giants to squeeze every penny of ad revenue they can get is a terrifying reality. While Web 2.0 is more interactive, it also draws us in even more with targeted advertising, treating us less like honored guests and more like objects to be exploited for profit.

Having more and more power flowing to just a handful of players also means that the web is much more centralized than in the old days. Although user input to the web may have increased, the web itself is more of the same.

What is web 3.0?

The power of the web giants, however, is not unquestioned. Currently, there are more than a few smart people around the world who are dreaming of alternatives to the web as it is now. Although we are poor forecasters ourselves, there are some general threads that we can identify. Let’s review three of them.

1. Web3: the cryptocatalyst

Probably the first thing most people think of when they hear about Web 3.0 is a new web that focuses on blockchain, cryptocurrency, and related web technologies. Usually called Web3, it’s a libertarian vision of the web that, on paper at least, would be highly decentralized like Web 1.0, but giving people the same information as Web 2.0.

First of all, Web3 is a financialized internet where decentralized finance (DeFi) dominates. Content offers would be made between people within decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) with smart contracts and then written to the blockchain so that anyone could inspect the terms and conditions at any time.

Cryptocurrency would be the way everything from user-generated content to decentralized VPNs would be paid for. digital resources as NFTs Naturally, they are also part of this new ecosystem and would serve as collectibles and membership badges for online clubs. Crypto would also be the way everyone would pay to sell and access the data.

The web, as envisioned by cryptocurrency enthusiasts, sounds interesting as it would be entirely in the hands of the users. In some scenarios, don’t forget that there is no single vision of Web3 either, even centralized servers would be eliminated. Instead, we would use decentralized data networks, powered by internet connected devices to access the network.

The drawback of Web3

As cool as all this sounds, the Web3 utopia seems to have been overtaken by events, and badly too. 2022 crypto crash it refutes the idea that cryptocurrency can be used for any type of transaction. Also, how decentralized is a decentralized autonomous organization really if a small group of people can easily pulls out all the power within it for themselves?

On top of that, it could be argued that Web3 actually make data mining worse of what it is now. While blockchain technology allows for greater transparency, having all of that information in plain sight also makes it much easier to mine using machine learning algorithms. In this scenario, the data would not even be anonymous.

One could argue that in this cryptocurrency-fueled Web3, we would only be trading one set of overlords (search engines and social media giants) for another, namely billionaire libertarians and crypto zealots. Unless you’re in one of those groups, that doesn’t sound too appetizing. Could there be another alternative?

2. The semantic web: the vision of Tim Berners-Lee

While many people have ideas about what Web 3.0 would look like apart from a cryptographic utopia, the most cohesive and coherent vision comes from Tim Berners-Leethe man credited with inventing the World Wide Web.

Berners Lee 2008

Tim Berners-Lee in 2008.

Berners-Lee has two ideas, both of which work with each other. The first is the semantic web, an Internet in which data is connected across the web and read by machines. The goal is to better connect the data, then make better AI to read it and thus create an internet that can process and create information faster.

An example of the Semantic Web in action would be smarter search results: instead of entering a keyword and getting a lot of data, not all of which is useful to you, you could use natural language to find what you’re looking for. . The AI ​​could filter out the chaff and hopefully get much smarter results.

looking solid

The other aspect for a more decentralized network proposed by Berners-Lee is store all our personal data in the so-called pods. Each of us could then determine what information would be in the pods and who could access it. Your company Solid is working on the implementation of this idea.

What this would mean for people is that their information is no longer just floating around, ready to be grabbed by anyone with the ability. Instead, you could strictly control your own data and companies like Meta, parent company of Facebookand Google couldn’t access it.

This would be real decentralization that is not based on tokens or blockchains: what is in a pod can only be revealed when its owner allows it. Plus, it removes the financialization of data, which would eliminate some of the dog-eat-dog practices we see on the web today.

3. Another option: the metaverse

Both options have their pros and cons. However, both assume to some extent that the web will not change significantly: we will continue to interact with it as we always have, through a screen from which we read information. What if that is no longer the rule in the future?

Mark Zuckerburg’s goal, for example, is creating a virtual reality version of the web in which our avatars will walk and exchange information with other avatars. Although the first glances we have had have been disappointingthere is no telling how this will play out in the future.

Of course, if the idea takes off, we may have a metaverse that exists alongside the Internet, or one that is intertwined with it. Maybe the metaverse of Meta is all of it, or just a small part. Either way, it would change the way we use the internet irrevocably.

Both Berners-Lee’s ideas and those of the cryptoevangelists could be applied to this new metaverse, but in very different ways.

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