My Web 3.0 Prediction

October 18, 2008

In the wrap up session for the Web 3.0 event, I tried to crystalize my prediction for Web 3.0. In doing so, I was trying to step away from the Semantic Web as a goal, and instead just think about what I think is inevitable.

So my prediction is like this:

Some people say Web 2.0 is about Ajax. Other people say it’s about websites connecting users to users, forming on-line communities around read-write websites. I think these two notions are related in that without Ajax, websites were so clunky that full participation by the mass of users was impractical. With Ajax, developers could make sites that were both powerful and comfortable.

By the same token, Web 3.0 will be about Semantic Web technologies enabling a set of noticeably more powerful and convenient applications. Most crucially, it will be about everyone who maintains some data making it available in a standard form, so applications can be written to use data from many sources. These application will feel different; they will appear to “know” a lot.

For the techies, Web 3.0 will be about RDF, like Web 2.0 was about Ajax. But for users, it will be about software systems which have access to all the data they can effectively use, instead of being dumb little things, trapped each in its own little box.

In the event’s analogy format, turned sideways, I guess we could say RDF is to Web 3.0 as Ajax is to Web 2.0. Ajax was the enabling, trigger technology for Web 2.0. RDF (or something like it) will be the enabling technology for Web 3.0, enabling a whole set of applications that are prohibitively difficult without it.

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