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There was Web 1.0 — the internet we all know and love – first. Web 1.0 entered the communication field in the 1990s as the ‘read-only web.’ You could look for and read websites. Believe it or not, the ‘period’ of Web 1.0 was when Yahoo was the MVP and Google was merely aspiring to be the next Yahoo.
Then Web 2.0 arrived, or the user-generated web, which was ushered in by the rise of social media. The move from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 became obvious with the arrival of Facebook in 2004. Following that, key websites focusing on user-generated content, such as Reddit (2005), Twitter (2006), and Youtube (2007), solidified the ‘read-write web’ for good.
People are now talking about Web 3 (or 3.0) – the internet’s alleged ‘next significant’ evolutionary leap forward. But what precisely is it?
Well, there are a few different opinions on this. Web 3 is still a work-in-progress and hasn’t been fully defined. However, the key notion is that it will be decentralized and to some extent linked to the concept of the “metaverse”.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that the initial concept associated with Web 3 was coined by the father of the internet Tim Berners-Lee, in 1999 as the “semantic web” – a machine-to-machine internet. However, as time goes on, Web 3 expands beyond the semantic web,’ to include artificial intelligence, interoperability, decentralisation, and other topics.
What is the decentralized web?
Let’s look at decentralization first. Today, the infrastructure that powers the most popular websites are usually owned by companies and governed, to some extent, by government/other private entity rules.
More recently users have become increasingly concerned about the security of their personal information, and as Blockchain and Crypto became more widely available, the desire for decentralization has intensified. As a result, the blockchain community envisions a decentralized peer-to-peer network, or Web 3.
Blockchain is a relatively new technique of storing data online that is based on encryption and distributed computing concepts. Encryption ensures that data on a blockchain may only be accessed by those with the necessary permissions – even if the data is stored on a computer owned by someone else, such as a government or a corporation.
Distributed computing refers to the sharing of a file among multiple computers or servers.
A good example of a Web 3 trustless transaction would be sending Bitcoin directly to another person – not via an online exchange or wallet stored on a centralized server. The blockchain algorithm and encryption manage the entire transaction process, and there is almost no chance that anyone can intervene and disrupt it.
The Intelligent Web
Generally, Web 3 is thought to have the following 5 characteristics:
- Semantic Web – Web 3 goes beyond keywords and quantitative values to grasp information such as photos, videos, and audio in a more comprehensive way.
- 3D Graphics — The third generation of the internet should include the utilization of 3D graphics and virtual reality (VR) technologies to deliver information about real-world locations, products, and objects of interest.
- Connectivity – In web 3, information is increasingly connected through semantic metadata, allowing users to take advantage of all available data.
- Artificial Intelligence – Software that can decode natural language and understand the intent is known as artificial intelligence. It can also tell the difference between authentic and fraudulent data and deliver more dependable information.
- Ubiquity – Data silos are no longer an issue. Every gadget should be connected to the internet and have material that can be accessed by various applications.
What Role Does the Metaverse Play in Web 3?
The metaverse is the final key Web 3 topic that we must discuss. The concept “metaverse” refers to the next version of the internet’s front-end – the user interface through which we interact with the online world, connect with other users, and alter data.
In case you missed the hype, the metaverse is perceived as a much more immersive, social, and persistent version of the internet. It will entice us by utilizing technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), allowing us to interact with the digital world in more natural and engaging ways. It is possible to construct Web 3 applications without involving the metaverse – Bitcoin is an example – but metaverse technology and experiences are expected to play a significant role in how many of these applications interact with our lives.
Is the Web 3 Age Already Here?
The short answer is probably not yet.
Web 3 has been the target of a lot of high-profile criticism. Elon Musk has made several comments, including stating that it “seems more like a marketing buzzword than a reality right now” and tweeting, “Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it.”
That said Big tech companies are already implementing software that can analyze complex data and associate diverse parameters. Big venture capital firms have made huge investments in Web 3 technology: just under $18 billion last year.
Web 3 will be a reality but there is still a long way to go before widespread adoption is seen.
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