Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 … what’s next?

What is Web 2.0?

There are many, many different definitions of and opinions on what Web 2.0 is.  Starting with Internet Visionary, Nova Spivack:

“Web 2.0 is a myth — there is no Web 2.0. It’s just the same Web, with more social features, tagging and AJAX.”

Spivack is also of the opinion that the number reference in “Web n.o” is indicative of each decade the Web has been in existence, with Web 1.0 being the first decade (1990-2000), Web 2.0 (2000-2010) and so on.

So it may be better to ask, what is the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0?  In the continuum graph below, we see that Web 2.0 now provides a more user friendly, social and interactive platform for users.  Web 1.0 was a one-way street, providing static information to users and, without obtaining feedback from users and having only minimal interaction with users, it must have been difficult to know what was working and what wasn’t.  Web 2.0 on the other hand is definitely a two-way street, encouraging interaction, feedback and active participation.

SM Timeline (radarnetworks.com)

For another perspective, tells us:

“… we might define Web 2.0 as a set of enabling technologies that enable us to reach and provide services to end users in exciting new ways. The reality is that much of the hype around Web 2.0 already existed on the Web well before the term became popular with the media and within the industry, but the concept is helping to drive new innovation in the use of this technology toward better user interaction. “


How about Web 3.0?

Back to Mr Spivack for his take on this …

“Web 3.0 — aka The Semantic Web — is about enriching the connections of the Web. By enriching the connections within the Web, the entire Web may become smarter.”

As Spivack mentions in his 2007 Web Seminar, “the intelligence is in the connections”.  Connections between information and connections between people – as depicted on his slide below:


Other characteristics of Web 3.0 include:

  • less reliance on keyword searching or phrases
  • more information being processed by machines
  • incorporation of natural language processing
  • more use of metadata for smarter searching
  • incorporation of data mining techniques
  • all with the aim of producing more relevant results


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI as defined on Wiki :

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. It is also the name of the academic field of study which studies how to create computers and computer software that are capable of intelligent behavior. Major AI researchers and textbooks define this field as “the study and design of intelligent agents”,[1] in which an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success.[2] John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1955,[3] defines it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”.[4]

AI is one of the tools which is used to support the development of the Web 3.0, particularly in the areas of smarter search capabilities.

You probably use AI yourself!  For example, if you use Apple Inc’s intelligent personal assistant, Siri , the app uses AI to gather information about your requests, and also gets to know your speech patterns, tone of voice, etc. and uses this information to tailor make results for future requests.

For more examples of AI you may already be using, visit beebom.com.


The future …

As noted by Anderson (2012) “Smartphone and other mobile technology is an area that many commentators and academics agree will dramatically alter the way we use the Web over the next few years.”

This is certainly supported by the Census 2013 information from Statistics NZ’s website, which details the growth in communications in general, and cellphones specifically, between 2006 and 2013 – see below.


And according to Wikipedia, back in 2012, in New Zealand there were more mobile phones in use than there were people (4,922,000 vs 4,430,000)!

Handheld Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Mobile devices, Portable devices, Social Networking, Social Media – will all be a part of Web 4.0 and beyond…


Anderson, P. (2012). Web 2.0 and beyond:  Principles and technologies. Boca Raton FL : CRC Press








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