It might be surprising to know that Web 2.0 has its origins back in the 90s. In the past few years it has been front and center. At this point most people would agree that Web 2.0 is mainstream. So what's really the next big paradigm shift?
Web 3.0 Is Not the Next Big Thing...
Web 3.0 was coined to be the next big thing. Web 3.0 is defined as a semantic web, in simple terms it means putting meaning behind words. It is suppose to allow for automated differing of what words mean. For example, if you have an orange, do you have a company, a bike, a fruit, or something else? For example, if I search for an orange, I want the internet to know that I mean a bike, not a fruit or company. Web 3.0 and the semantic web helps provide this extra meaning to words. Web 3.0 also is tied to creating associations between words. For example, listings about me on the web can also tie to things about me such as my family, address, and more. Web 3.0 is not something that is going to be as easy to implement. Additionally, while it is revolutionary, it won't be as game-changing as Web 2.0 has been.
Web 4.0 Is Already a Messed Up Term
So if Web 3.0 isn't next, what is? If you look around the Web, people are already starting to define Web 4.0. Because there are so many definitions already started, I'm going to simply state that the confusion already caused by the use of Web 4.0 will make it hard to define to one thing without causing confusion.
Web X.0 Is the Next Paradigm-Shifting, Life Altering Disturbance Coming to the Force.
Since Web 4.0 is already diluted as a term, I'll jump ahead and say the next wave for the Web is Web X.0.
Why Web X.0?
An X is a crossing of two lines. The 0 is because it is something starting that will evolve as time progresses. The next wave is going to be a huge paradigm shift.
Many people don't really comprehend how big of a paradigm shift Web 2.0 has been. It happened subtly in a lot of ways. Its impact, however, has completely changed how people go about their day. Interactivity, community involvement, dynamic pages, and many other features all help define parts of Web 2.0. It completely changed the Web and how people interact. The features spawned social networking, tweeting, blogging, interactivity, and more. Web 2.0 has changed the media that we use on a daily basis. It changed the way we interact with friends and family. The impact of what is defined as Web 2.0 when added together is huge.
Like lines in the letter X, the X in Web X.0 is for the crossroads we have reached. The Web and computing in general are at evolutionary points. In fact, I'll be so bold as to state that we are currently living a revolution as big as the PC revolution in the 80s. The X is this crossroad of evolution on the Web with the evolution of connectivity.
The Web is changing because of the ability to be always connected. Connectivity is at a point where people are able to stay connected to the internet throughout their entire day. It is now possible to tap into the Internet from almost anywhere. As such, it is easy to get to information, it is also easy for information to get to you.
Most important, is the third piece in of this convergence, and that is the evolution of computing devices. In the last years, the power and functionality of mobile devices has skyrocketed to the point where they are becoming not only the standard, but the predominant access point for social interaction with not only other people, but also with the Web and information.
Smart phones including the iPhone and Android phones have made a huge impact in computing. Netbooks are clearly being carried around and used to access the Web. And the wave that is currently adding to this is the slate devices. While pen computing and slate devices have been around for over a decade, the iPad with its connectivity and easy-to-use touch interface has brought them to the mainstream. With over a half dozen Android tablets on the market and more serious contenders such as the Cisco CIUS coming, the market is heating up. Windows 7 slate devices have also been announced and are coming as mentioned in my previous blog post.
More Power in Your Hand than on Your Desk
Today's mobile devices, even at the phone level, have more computing power than many standard desktop PCs had just a few years ago. It is interesting to note that the minimum specifications for a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 device requires more computing power than an Xbox 360 game console. Many mobile devices have multiple processors, expansion slots, speakers, microphones, cameras, accelerometers, and much more. There are Android phones with processors clocking at 2GHz, which is faster than most netbook computers!
This is Just the Beginning of Web X.0
The crossroads is at the beginning, so the impact hasn't really been seen. Expanding from where Web 2.0 has brought us, you can begin to speculate the things Web X.0 will bring to us. Where Web 2.0 allows two-way interactions when you are using the Web, with Web X.0, two-way communication can be accomplished even when you are not initially using the Web. The Web contacts you-- or to be more accurate-- applications running on the Web can contact you automatically. Additionally, you can take the Web with you.
When you start considering the impact of an "always connected" world, you begin to see the way people operate and interact changing. Web 2.0 changed how people operated and interacted. That is what made it so big. Web X.0 has the ability to make interactions change again.
Simple Examples of Web X.0
There are a couple of examples that just scratch the surface of Web X.0. Consider the following.
You are at the physical store. You see a product and you wonder if it is a good deal. In a Web 2.0 paradigm, from your computer, you'd do a search to compare prices when you get home. In a Web X.0 world, you use your phone to take a picture of the bar code. You would then get an immediate response as to what prices other stores offer the same product for, as well as what stores close to you have those products in stock. Your mobile device is set to give you directions to those products should you need them.
Going farther, in a Web X.0 world, you could indicate what products you are looking to buy and what your price ranges are. Your mobile computing device could then notify you when you happen to be near a store or business that offers the product in your price range.
Spam in a Web X.0 world can take on a different dimension as well. When you are driving down the road, using location based services, businesses could contact you as you get near. Restaurants you've frequented can text or call you to tell you that since you are driving by their location, you should stop in for today's special. In fact, they can check your past records to let you know that the entrée you normally order is on sale if you stop by in the next 30 minutes...
Web X.0 has Already Started
These are simple examples that are possible today. The real power of what can and will be done is just starting to materialize. With new phone systems with higher levels of power, with new mobile devices such as iPads and Windows 7 slates, paradigms are changing. Embedded systems in other devices that are always connected will also have a huge impact in the Web X.0 world.
I call the summation of all of these paradigm shifts Web X.0. I'm sure someone will come up with a catchier name. Regardless, we are at a huge transition point and it will be interesting to see how things shake out!