by Brian Solis

While I was grabbing screenshots for the Twitter 2.0 post, I noticed a tweet from Jason Calacanis:

Jason Calacanis JasonCalacanis web3.0 defined….

While there has been mumblings and attempts at describing Web 3.0 in the past, I had to stop what I was doing when someone like Calacanis says, “Web 3.0 defined.”

According to Jason, “Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.”

I’m waiting for a Mahalo plug here…

He continues, “Web 3.0 throttles the “wisdom of the crowds” from turning into the “madness of the mobs” we’ve seen all to often, by balancing it with a respect of experts. Web 3.0 leaves behind the cowardly anonymous contributors and the selfish blackhat SEOs that have polluted and diminished so many communities. Web 3.0 is a return to what was great about media and technology before Web 2.0: recognizing talent and expertise, the ownership of ones words, and fairness.”

While I respect his views and opinions, I think I have to disagree with him on this one.

Jason’s definition, in fact his entire post, bases his Web 3.0 on people, which in my opinion, better describes what Web 2.0 should be. This just goes against the stacks of technical papers I’ve read on the Semantic Web and the movement to integrate artificial intelligence to automatically enhance and streamline the experience.

A simple search on Wikipedia supports my initial reaction: Web 3.0 is a term that has been coined with different meanings to describe the evolution of Web usage and interaction along several separate paths. These include transforming the Web into a database, a move towards making content accessible by multiple non-browser applications, the leveraging of artificial intelligence technologies, the Semantic web, the Geospatial Web, or the 3D web.

I then found a post by Alex Iskold in response to Jason’s post, who says, Web 3.0 is not about people sifting through data.”

Iskold goes a bit further, “First, humans are not good at keeping up with computers. It is just not how our brains wired. A handful, even thousands of people, can not efficiently and effectively leverage the vast web and myriad of web services that exist today.”

And if we look back to last year, Web 3.0 was already taking shape…

John Markoff wrote the story that started it all, “Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense.”

In this rather forward-thinking story, Markoff observed, “From the billions of documents that form the World Wide Web and the links that weave them together, computer scientists and a growing collection of start-up companies are finding new ways to mine human intelligence. 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. That level of artificial intelligence, with machines doing the thinking instead of simply following commands, has eluded researchers for more than half a century. Referred to as Web 3.0, the effort is in its infancy, and the very idea has given rise to skeptics who have called it an unobtainable vision.”

I think the discussion and definition for Web 3.0 will take shape because of discussions like this that hammer it out in public forums, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

Update: Nova Spivak responds.

Web 3.0, in my opinion is best defined as the third-decade of the Web (2010 – 2020), during which time several key technologies will become widely used. Chief among them will be RDF and the technologies of the emerging Semantic Web. While Web 3.0 is not synonymous with the Semantic Web (there will be several other important technology shifts in that period), it will be largely characterized by semantics in general.

Web 3.0 is an era in which we will upgrade the back-end of the Web, after a decade of focus on the front-end (Web 2.0 has mainly been about AJAX, tagging, and other front-end user-experience innovations.)

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About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

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    no imageMichael Bailey (Who am I?)3 October 2007 7:17 pm

    Nice blog post – I disagreed in Jason’s own comment page where he originally posted. I also called him out for what I see as an apparent marketing tactic.

    Also, you’ve listed 4 ways for me to connect with you, but Common sense tells me that THIS is where I should connect with you (do you carry 4 cell phones?)

    You are a good man Brian, and I think you know that my comment here isn’t “at” you…

    oh, here comes the traffic!

    Kids! Get out of the street!!!

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    no imageBob Caswell (Who am I?)4 October 2007 4:34 am

    I agree. And I wonder where Jason’s definition leaves other emerging web x.0 ideas such as the geoweb or semantic web.

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    no imageeric norlin (Who am I?)4 October 2007 5:11 am

    some quick thoughts on web3.bleccch:

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    no imageMo Kakwan (Who am I?)4 October 2007 6:24 am

    I find it odd that some folks always have to name the current iteration/feel of the web. 2.0? 3.0? Really it’s all about pushing the available technology to add more cool utility. I wonder at what version will people realize there’s no point appending X.0 to the web.

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    no imageFraser (Who am I?)4 October 2007 10:38 am

    Great post and summary of a lot of ideas. Personally I agree with you that the discussion is healthy and valuable – it pushes us towards a definition.

    But we’re not there yet. And today’s conversation shows that we’re a far way away.

    Which may be a good thing :)

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