When Tim Berners Lee started developing the World Wide Web in 1989, he envisioned a space where scientists could meet, read, and write. In its heyday, companies like AOL, Yahoo, and Compuserve dominated this interconnected computer system, which eventually became gateways to Web 1.0. Web 1.0 enabled people and businesses to consume content and also post content from time to time.
In 1994, Netscape first launched its web browser, effectively ushering in the dot-com revolution. The landscape of the internet changed and prompted a series of browser wars. Web 2.0 emerged from this second internet wave. It was different from its predecessor in a definitive way. In Web 1.0, people were only consumers of content. Web 2.0 became a platform where software applications moved from desktops to being built on the web. It meant users everywhere could now create content, prompting a new world of social networks and blogs.
User-generated content began to drive search engines. Traditional advertising, media, and retail industries would never be the same. The internet we’re familiar with today continues to rely on the Web 2.0 approach. User participation is the primary force behind fresh content. The business model behind Web 2.0 is precisely what enables the collection of consumer data that third parties can monetize through targeted marketing.
The internet today is a proliferation of centralized apps. It’s a space dominated by big tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon – with everyone playing the same game. Web 2.0 is an endless loop of companies building audiences and collecting data without users’ explicit consent. Web 3.0 could change the game entirely. Many see it as a return to the original web that Berners-Lee set out to create in the first place. To quote the man the web is a space “where no permission is needed from a central authority to post anything … there is no central controlling node, and so no single point of failure … and no “kill switch!”
The new web seeks to achieve this through three primary layers of tech innovation: decentralized data, edge computing, and artificial intelligence. Web 3.0 build on disruptive technology like blockchain to decentralize data. It’s a sharp detour from an “exploitative” Web 2.0 with rampant surveillance, advertising, and data centralization.
What does this mean for the end-user? Decentralizing data means people can rightfully own and exert control over their data. It’s a radical approach that could effectively displace tech giants profiting from our data. It creates a future where users and machines can interact through peer-to-peer networks. Imagine a web without the need for third parties – a network built on the foundations of data privacy and meaningful interaction. Web 3.0 and its limitless possibilities enable an exciting new wave for the internet.