Why different Webs?

Summer has finally arrived.  The kids are home and we are windsurfing.  My posts may become a little more sporadic.  Right now I am reading an interesting book on online games and game addiction.  Hopefully I will have more about that next week.  For this week I wanted to write a bit about webs. 

Articles often refer to websites as part of Web 1.0, Web 2.0 or Web 3.0.   These terms are most often used to describe how websites have changed over time.  Some articles reference the technical differences  between these different webs.  But  for most articles, these terms delineate how we interact with websites.  Websites have moved from a means of  imparting information to us generating information.     

Web 1.0 was the first web and probably what most parents remember.  Websites were read only and designed to give information.  Readers were unable to contribute to or change the information.  Websites were periodically updated but largely static.

Web 2.0 is the current web.  Now, websites do not just provide information but allow readers to add content.   We are no longer passive observers but active participants.  Through blogs and wikis, anyone and everyone can produce content.  Web 2.0 is sometimes referred to as the social web.  Connecting people is now as important as the content they upload and share with others.  With increased interactivity, websites are dynamic and constantly changing.

Web 3.0 is the next web.  Web 3.0 is based on “intelligent” web applications.  The goal is to tailor online searching and requests specifically to users’ preferences and needs.  Many of these experts believe that the Web 3.0 browser will act like a personal assistant.   Currently, planning a vacation online requires lots of keyword searches: finding a location, choosing a hotel, and identifying nearby activities.  With web 3.0,  a person would ask for a sunny vacation with children for $5000.  The browser consult its records of what you like and dislike, previous web searches and other data to design this vacation.   

The key to the development of Web 3.0 is the need for lots of personal data.   The increase in data collection will allow a more tailored and meaningful web search.   In fact,  LinkedIn founder and chairman Reid Hoffman says that the future of the web will be all about data and how we utilize it.   As we move toward 3.0 and data collection expands, will our children’s privacy expand with it?