"The future is Web 3.0" — this is the thought we've been hearing more and more often from opinion leaders and the Internet industry over the past few years. And what's behind this concept? Before we explore what is Web 3.0, it is logical to begin with familiarity with its predecessors — Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.
Web 1.0 and Web 2.0: a look at history
Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 represent specific stages of Internet development, characterized by different concepts of human interaction with the network. In both the former and the latter, data is stored on servers controlled by centralized companies (such as Google, Amazon, etc.). Customers are therefore deprived of full control over their data.
The existence period of the Internet first generation is considered to be 1991-2004. Web 2.0 as an extended version of the previous appeared with the arrival of ubiquitous authorisation in 2022, and still exists today.
Because the first Internet version was originally one of a kind, it was not even necessary to use the "1" in its name. Only with the advent of the next generation, its predecessor was given the name Web 1.0.
Differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0
If we compare the versions considered by us between themselves, it is possible to note the following distinctions:
- Web 1.0 was a static platform for reading and consuming information, not available for editing and sharing with the audience. In other words, it resembled a book whose pages could be leafed through and something new could be learned. In Web 2.0, data inclusion technology has already made interactive interaction with content available.
- Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are structured differently: while the former contained information in a linear form, the latter has a non-linear form which makes the improved version dynamic.
- The Web 1.0 Internet was focused on browsing sites, while Web 2.0 is mainly focused on social networks (Facebook, Twitter and other social networking platforms are some of the best known examples of version 2.0 development). Users can now create their own personalized profiles, communicate with each other through messages and calls, post content to their accounts and get reactions to it.
- The design tool for Web 1.0 sites was basic HTML coding. The web pages of those days were characterized by bright colors and textures that imitated wood, stone or metal. GIF-animations were popular for the purpose of animating static content.
Web 2.0 uses advanced programming languages. The design is dominated by rounded shapes and simple, pleasing to the eye colors, and complex animations are used instead of GIFs. Great attention is paid to fonts. The sites themselves have become adaptive, allowing them to be opened and conveniently viewed on different gadgets.
- A consequence of the developed social functions of the Internet Web 2.0 is that the current version is controlled by recommendation algorithms. In this way, companies advertising their products or services compete for the attention of potential consumers. In this regard, the Web 2.0 concept is described as insufficiently private, since individual user data is actively used to customize targeted advertising.
The new format of the Web 3.0
To date, no one has a clear idea of what will be a new stage of the Internet. However, a certain vision is already taking shape.
According to Jason Calacanis, head of Netscape, Web 3.0 will be defined by such key features:
- Data decentralization: information will be stored not on a single server, but in a distributed database between users, stored on special nodes (nodes). What will be the instrument of such decentralization — blockchain technology or DAO (decentralized autonomous organizations) — it is difficult to say yet.
- Openness: software will be open source, which will be the key to understanding the structure of tools and their interaction with the user.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: with ChatGPT and other neural network-based technologies, users will continue to search for information of interest.
- Freedom: moderation of published content will shift from corporations to the online community, making it possible to publish any content.
- Ubiquity: the Internet will be present almost everywhere, and smart gadgets and IoT devices will take on the role of its distributors.
How the Web 3.0 will change our lives
Speaking of the impact of Web 3.0 on familiar areas of life, some examples include the following:
- Social media and NFT. In Web 3.0, the owner of that service (the company "Meta") simply will not be able to delete your account from the same Instagram, because a copy of the database will be stored on distributed nodes. One more important point: considering that with a high probability all your data in the network can be tokenized, each photo in Instagram can become an NFT. That is, you alone would be the creator and owner of the images posted to your account, and no blockchain would be needed to confirm authorship.
- Meta universes. As an upgrade to social networks from Web 2.0, they are also worth mentioning. In the metaverse, you will have your own digital Identity to which a cryptocurrency wallet will be attached, storing all your digital content. And all this will be managed through DAO. By the way, such metaworlds already exist (e.g., Decentraland, Alien Worlds, Sandbox, etc.). So shopping in virtual malls instead of physical ones is not a fantasy.
- Finance. And it's only natural that you need virtual money to make virtual purchases. Each meta-universe platform will be financed by a certain type of cryptocurrency (a meta-universe coin). If we talk about browsers with crypto-purses tied to them, they are already there, too. The amount of rewards within each ecosystem is also determined by the DAO.
- NFT events. In Web 3.0, it will be possible to exchange tokens for bonuses, event tickets and other items not otherwise available for purchase. Each such token is unique, i.e. it cannot be counterfeited.
Be that as it may, one thing is clear: the transition to Web 3.0 will be gradual and accompanied by many changes in the rules of companies, as well as in the principles of interaction between people. The introduction of "smart home" and "smart city" technologies is already becoming a reality, and Internet penetration in the real world will continue. All we have to do is to watch the process with interest. Well, and take part in it ourselves.