We believe there really is a new era emerging in the Web's evolution. So what's next? What will define Web 3.0?
One explanation is that:
Web 1.0: Mainstream media and retailers dominate, using traditional approaches to broadcasting and sales.
Web 2.0: Blogging, peer-to-peer sharing and Google empower the masses to communicate openly. The old guard struggles to remain relevant.
Web 3.0: Mainstreaming of social media creates a constant flow of information. Challenge for users and businesses alike is to harness the flood without drowning.
The best example of Web 3.0, or at least the transition between here and there, is Twitter. The site's simplicity, flexibility and explosive growth have created more content than anyone could possibly digest. Couple that with the constant activity on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, blogs and Friendfeed, and it's easy to see why everyone feels so overloaded.
The mission now is to bring order to the chaos, to carve out your own tributaries from the river of information.
How's it being done, and what it does it say about where we're headed? Find out after the jump.
Here are a few trends that are distilling the conversation and, in the process, defining Web 3.0:
No one wants to manage accounts on 25 different social sites. This frustration has driven the creation of tools like iGoogle, FriendFeed and Netvibes — all aimed at streamlining your social Web into one space. But more importantly, it has led to the reinvention of Facebook as the ultimate social aggregator.
Recent redesigns of Facebook have turned it into a place where your photos, videos and blog posts can be easily (and automatically) funneled into one place. That's an approach that FriendFeed pioneered years ago, but there's a big difference: Your friends are actually using Facebook.
And now they can even comment on your shared items without leaving the social network. That's bad news for YouTube and other sites that need traffic to create ad revenue, but it's good news for users who don't want to scramble all over creation just to say "Cute video!"
2. Simple sharing
We've all been seeing those "Share this!" buttons for years now. If you're a marketer or PR person, you've probably plastered them all over your work in hopes of helping it "go viral." But the reality is that these links to sites like Digg or Reddit just haven't been that useful.
That's finally starting to change thanks to Web and smartphone tools that simplify the sharing process.
A few examples:
• TBuzz: If you find a site you want to share with your Twitter audience, just click the Tbuzz bookmark at the top of your browser. The tool automatically shortens the link using the popular bit.ly service and pops up a window showing you anyone else who has mentioned the same page on Twitter.
• Hootsuite's Ow.ly Social Bar: A bit more comprehensive than TBuzz, this tool shares sites but then also makes it easy for the viewer to share it again. So if you like the link I send you to, you can click a button at the top of the page and keep the share train rolling.
• Smub.it: Designed to make sharing easier on an iPhone, Smub actually works on just about any device with a Web browser. You simply add "smub.it/" in front of any URL, and it will pull up a page of simple buttons to share that site on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc.
The design-heavy microsite has been under serious assault lately. Why? Because businesses and marketers are realizing that there's an infinite supply of content out there, being refreshed every day. Why go through all the trouble of creating 100% of your site's content yourself?
And here's another point: A few years ago, if you wanted video on your site, you had to write or find a code that would let you host the video. Big pain in the butt. Now Google is dumping millions of dollars into making YouTube the best, most advanced video service on the planet. Why would you still go it alone, when you can just embed YouTube on your own site for free?
Right now, this concept is being pushed to its limits by ad agencies and others who want to get buzz by showing how minimalist their Web design can be. The most notable examples are Modernista's pop-up home page, the similar Skittles project by Agency.com, and most recently BooneOakley's bizarre conversion of its agency site into a YouTube video. (watch bellow)
For now, these kinds of projects are mostly just publicity stunts. But there's no denying that repurposed content from sites like Twitter and YouTube is going to become the norm with almost any site design in the near future.
On another angle we've heard that if Web 1.0 was characterized by connecting people to content, and Web 2.0 is connecting people to people, then Web 3.0 is certainly connecting objects to people and to eachother. The Internet of things. Tim O’Reilly has also been talking about this for a while.
Inanimate objects can be embedded with sensors and connected wirelessly to the Internet. This enables us mere human objects to effectively communicate with those formerly inanimate objects. The hope is that as we are able to collect data from these embedded objects and analyze it we’ll be able to make better, more informed decisions based on all the available information we have.
This requires, of course, better analytics to makes sense of it all. But coupled together (data+ analytics) it’s truly the next transformative era of computing.
So what's your take on the term "Web 3.0"? Is it a bold new era? Or just a reorganization of all the information we have today? I'd love to hear what trends you've noticed and where you think they're taking us.
Original Blog Posts: thesocialpath.com and asmarterplanet.com