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Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, once said, “The web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” It’s only a matter of time before web 3.0 — better known as the “semantic web”– rolls around, making web 2.0 — the web as we know it today — a thing of the past. Though there is a debate among experts as to when exactly web 3.0 will arrive, most predict it’s sooner rather than later.
In the beginning…
Web 1.0 was all about basics. With this first iteration, social networking was merely a dim glimmer in the minds of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and MySpace founders Tom Andersen and Chris DeWolfe. Back then, websites provided information with little opportunity for user interaction and feedback — a one-way process dubbed “read-only”. The most interactive user activities involved chat and instant messaging.
Then web 2.0 came along and introduced the world to blogs, social-networking sites, and a host of self-publishing tools. Articles are now accompanied with “comments” tools, and any hack with a computer can create a blog. Content exploded on the web, and a considerable portion of it is created by average users.
Booming web audience
The first decade also saw a tremendous leap in the growing number of online users. Mobile devices have also made 24-hour access to the web — anywhere, anytime — readily available: Simply sit at Starbucks and read email, check the news, and browse the web while sipping a Frappucino.
What Web 3.0 holds in store
What industry analysts foresee for the next version is a more personalized and easy-to-use web, eliminating several steps from your online searches to make them quicker. Hence, your computer is ‘smarter’ and can better understand what you are searching for. According to PC Magazine, “the Semantic Web is a place where machines can read web pages much as we humans read them, a place where search engines and software agents can better troll the Net and find what we’re looking for.”
For example, if you are planning a weekend getaway to a mountain lodge and you want to make sure that there are convenience stores nearby, you wouldn’t have to conduct separate searches for lodges and stores. The web would simply deliver search results for both and categorize it in such a way that you would know which places are more convenient. What web 3.0 then promises is a more personalized, faster method of search that is tailored to your needs. And experts predict that this could also simplify the current problem of sifting through pages and pages of irrelevant web search results.
Virtual world: Others also speculate whether web 3.0 will eventually develop into a virtual world. Writing in About.com, Daniel Nations explains that it’s a possibility that Web users would eventually be able to walk into virtual buildings and stores online.
What this means for your computer
With every technological advance, older gadgets are eventually replaced by new ones. While web 3.0 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need a more powerful computer, the average lifespan for most computers is still 4 to 5 years and that isn’t expected to change. You can have your computer in top-notch shape as web 3.0 approaches by doing preventive maintenance to keep it healthy with help from programs like Computer Checkup Premium or System Mechanic.
Clean registries, remove clutter by clearing out temporary or unwanted files, and help your hard drive run more quickly by rearranging data to remove fragments. Also, speed up your computer and ensure your PC’s hard drive is operating at its maximum potential.
WWW and information overload
One drawback, some say, to these web technologies is that they could make it easier to rely on the web to do the bulk of your work for you. Once upon a time, the fear was that television would dull creativity and mental stimulation, and now the worry is that the Internet has replaced TV in this regard.
As Chris Christensen, a computer executive and host of the Amateur Traveler podcast, says: “So we will hear stories about people for whom the web becomes an obsession. But that is no different from the couch potatoes who did not make good decisions about their TV habits.”
As the New York Times explains, “Their goal is to add a layer of meaning on top of the existing web that would make it less of a catalog and more of a guide — and even provide the foundation for systems that can reason in a human fashion.”