THE BIRTH OF THE WEB
Not to be confused with the Internet, the origins of the World Wide Web, abbreviated as WWW or simply the Web, go back to 1989 when it was invented by the British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. While working at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), he identified a need for automated information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes worldwide. Out of this, the Web was born, with Berners-Lee creating its formatting language, HTML, the first web browser, and web server. By 1994, the first public websites were online, paving the way for the free and unrestricted Web as we know it today. However, had it been up to Berners-Lee, this may never have happened, as he explained:
“Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.”
WEB 2.0 TODAY
Berners-Lee’s invention formed the basis of Web 1.0, which consisted of thousands of static pages joined by hyperlinks. The technology was void of interactivity and was often referred to as ‘read-only.’ In 1999, the term Web 2.0 was first coined by an information architecture consultant, Darcy DiNucci, and later made popular by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty at the first Web 2.0 Conference in 2004. One of the most significant differences between Web 2.0 and the traditional WWW is greater collaboration amongst users. Web 1.0 was characterised by data posted on websites, which users then viewed and downloaded. Web 2.0 marked a giant leap forward with the dawn of apps, cloud computing, social networking, social curation, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), e-commerce, and much more. Back in 1999, DiNucci said:
“The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfuls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfuls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens.”
Web 2.0 is the technology that we use daily, at work, and play. While its critics maintain that it is too easy for the average person to affect online content, which can impact the credibility, ethics, and even legality of web content, it has hindered the technology from further developing.
THE THIRD GENERATION
Web 3.0 or Web3 is the third generation of web technologies. As a developing technology, it is not characterised by definitive parameters, but it does have a strong emphasis on decentralised applications, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). Web 3.0 is also based on the notion of semantics. Berners-Lee was an advocate of the integration of semantic technology into the web in which ML manipulates data with the intention of developing a more intelligent and connected web experience for users.
WHAT MAKES WEB 3.0 DIFFERENT?
Web 3.0 is still under construction, and while HTML essentially remains the foundation which it is being built, there are several fundamental differences from its predecessors:
- It will use a decentralised blockchain instead of relying on a centralised database to deliver data. Currently, most of the data on Web 2.0 is owned by tech giants such as Meta – formerly Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
- A focus on AI will mean the provision of more relevant data to users, and AI will be used to separate legitimate results from false ones.
- Web 3.0 will be cryptocurrency enabled, replacing fiat money – a government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity such as gold.
- Web 3.0 is destined to be user-centric and automated.
- The use of 3-D graphics will also be prevalent, including those used for computer games, e-commerce, and geospatial creation.
- Web 3.0 relies on edge computing in which apps and data are processed at the network edge on devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and smart devices.
WHAT’S COMING OUR WAY
Besides blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, Web 3.0 examples include Initial Coins Offerings (ICOs), Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Decentralized Apps (dApps), Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), and The Metaverse. This quote explains how Web 3.0 will transform our lives:
“In Web 3.0, while driving, you can ask your automotive assistant a question: “I would like to watch a romantic movie and eat Japanese food.” The search engine embedded in the car assistant provides you with a personalized response that considers your location, suggesting the closest cinema that matches your request and a good Japanese restaurant by automatically consulting the reviews on social media. Then it might even present a 3D menu from the restaurant on the display.”
THE TRANSITION TO WEB 3.0
Remember the days of the Fax machine, the MP3 player, or VCR? Some of you do, but those technologies are now long gone, as is Web 1.0 – almost. It took over 10 years to transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, and it is expected to take just as long, if not longer, to fully implement and reshape the web with Web 3.0. But one thing is certain – Web 3.0 will be with us soon.
NOTHING TO FEAR ABOUT THE FUTURE
While technological changes are fantastic, they often come with risk, particularly relating to cybersecurity. But have no fear. While Web 3.0 will soon be upon us, as long as you and your IT systems are prepared for the changes that come with it, nothing can go wrong. I have more than 20 years of experience in professional business IT provision and specialise in cybersecurity and risk mitigation. Call me today and find out how to make the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 seamless and definitely worth your while.