Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How Web 3.0 Will Work

Web 3.0 Basics

Internet experts think Web 3.0 is going to be like having a personal assistant who knows practically everything about you and can access all the information on the Internet to answer any question. Many compare Web 3.0 to a giant database. While Web 2.0 uses the Internet to make connections between people, Web 3.0 will use the Internet to make connections with information. Some experts see Web 3.0 replacing the current Web while others believe it will exist as a separate network.

Planning a tropical getaway? Web 3.0 might help simplify your travel plans.

t's easier to get the concept with an example. Let's say that you're thinking about going on a vacation. You want to go someplace warm and tropical. You have set aside a budget of $3,000 for your trip. You want a nice place to stay, but you don't want it to take up too much of your budget. You also want a good deal on a flight.

With the Web technology currently available to you, you'd have to do a lot of research to find the best vacation options. You'd need to research potential destinations and decide which one is right for you. You might visit two or three discount travel sites and compare rates for flights and hotel rooms. You'd spend a lot of your time looking through results on various search engine results pages. The entire process could take several hours.

Your Life on the Web
If your Web 3.0 browser retrieves information for you based on your likes and dislikes, could other people learn things about you that you'd rather keep private by looking at your results? What if someone performs an Internet search on you? Will your activities on the Internet become public knowledge? Some people worry that by the time we have answers to these questions, it'll be too late to do anything about it.

According to some Internet experts, with Web 3.0 you'll be able to sit back and let the Internet do all the work for you. You could use a search service and narrow the parameters of your search. The browser program then gathers, analyzes and presents the data to you in a way that makes comparison a snap. It can do this because Web 3.0 will be able to understand information on the Web.

Right now, when you use a Web search engine, the engine isn't able to really understand your search. It looks for Web pages that contain the keywords found in your search terms. The search engine can't tell if the Web page is actually relevant for your search. It can only tell that the keyword appears on the Web page. For example, if you searched for the term "Saturn," you'd end up with results for Web pages about the planet and others about the car manufacturer.

A Web 3.0 search engine could find not only the keywords in your search, but also interpret the context of your request. It would return relevant results and suggest other content related to your search terms. In our vacation example, if you typed "tropical vacation destinations under $3,000" as a search request, the Web 3.0 browser might include a list of fun activities or great restaurants related to the search results. It would treat the entire Internet as a massive database of information available for any query.

Web 3.0 Approaches

You never know how future technology will eventually turn out. In the case of Web 3.0, most Internet experts agree about its general traits. They believe that Web 3.0 will provide users with richer and more relevant experiences. Many also believe that with Web 3.0, every user will have a unique Internet profile based on that user's browsing history. Web 3.0 will use this profile to tailor the browsing experience to each individual. That means that if two different people each performed an Internet search with the same keywords using the same service, they'd receive different results determined by their individual profiles.

Web 3.0 will likely plug into your individual tastes and browsing habits.

The technologies and software required for this kind of application aren't yet mature. Services like TiVO and Pandora provide individualized content based on user input, but they both rely on a trial-and-error approach that isn't as efficient as what the experts say Web 3.0 will be. More importantly, both TiVO and Pandora have a limited scope -- television shows and music, respectively -- whereas Web 3.0 will involve all the information on the Internet.

Some experts believe that the foundation for Web 3.0 will be application programming interfaces (APIs). An API is an interface designed to allow developers to create applications that take advantage of a certain set of resources. Many Web 2.0 sites include APIs that give programmers access to the sites' unique data and capabilities. For example, Facebook's API allows developers to create programs that use Facebook as a staging ground for games, quizzes, product reviews and more.

One Web 2.0 trend that could help the development of Web 3.0 is the mashup. A mashup is the combination of two or more applications into a single application. For example, a developer might combine a program that lets users review restaurants with Google Maps. The new mashup application could show not only restaurant reviews, but also map them out so that the user could see the restaurants' locations. Some Internet experts believe that creating mashups will be so easy in Web 3.0 that anyone will be able to do it.

Widgets are small applications that people can insert into Web pages by copying and embedding lines of code into a Web page's code. They can be games, news feeds, video players or just about anything else. Some Internet prognosticators believe that Web 3.0 will let users combine widgets together to make mashups by just clicking and dragging a couple of icons into a box on a Web page. Want an application that shows you where news stories are happening? Combine a news feed icon with a Google Earth icon and Web 3.0 does the rest. How? Well, no one has quite figured that part out yet.

Other experts think that Web 3.0 will start fresh. Instead of using HTML as the basic coding language, it will rely on some new -- and unnamed -- language. These experts suggest it might be easier to start from scratch rather than try to change the current Web. However, this version of Web 3.0 is so theoretical that it's practically impossible to say how it will work.

The man responsible for the World Wide Web has his own theory of what the future of the Web will be. He calls it the Semantic Web, and many Internet experts borrow heavily from his work when talking about Web 3.0.

No comments: