Anyone over 30 will still remember the time when the only way to connect to the web was over a telephone line. Making a video call with a friend somewhere else in the world while playing a game in real time seemed impossible.
In the same way, it is difficult to foresee all the possible developments that web3 will have.
But if web2 already delivered so many features, what would web3 be capable of?
First of all, understand that there are several possible definitions for web3. Until about 2014, a common definition for web3 was the semantic web, where search engines and platforms had a deeper understanding of the meaning of words and phrases.
The concept of the semantic web was originated by Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Internet).
Web1 vs web2 vs web3
Key Difference: Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are all different stages of the Internet. These are buzzwords, thus lack clear definitions. However, Web 1.0 can be associated with the era of static websites. Web 2.0 can be associated with the era of interactive web sites.
Web 3.0 focuses on web services and semantic markup.
Web has influenced our lives in a great way. The introduction of web and its current form has seen various phases. Broadly, these phases have been categorized into three groups namely Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.
Web 1.0 can be associated with the era of static websites.
During this phase static websites were created and used in order to display some information. These websites had no or little interaction capabilities. It was used for representation of static content and thus added a lot of professionalism in the work of writers, authors, etc.
This is where Web 3.0 comes in.
What is Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 is described as “read-write-execute”.
It is known as the future of the internet. It involves a space where people operate on decentralised, almost anonymous platforms. This means moving away from the big, guiding hands of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Web 3.0 was originally called the Semantic Web by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, and was conceived as a more autonomous, intelligent, and open internet.
This internet would involve AI and ML which would process content like a “global brain”, with all data being connected in a way that is contextual and conceptual.
But this didn’t pan out. The tech just wasn’t.
For example, in 2014, Gavin Wood (Ethereum co-founder and Polkadot founder) referred to web3 as being a “decentralized online ecosystem based on blockchain“.
As the semantic web has evolved and mixed with AI concepts, even causing confusion in terminology, it is much more common today to find definitions for the web3 as associated with blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. This will be the focus of this article, so let’s go ahead.
Although we have many advantages with today’s internet, there are still many problems to solve. For example:
- User data should be treated privately, but in web2 large companies monetize this information by using sensitive data as input to maximize their profits on ads, or by selling data to third parties.
- Web hosting and domain registration services are centralized in a few companies.
Another innovative benefit is that Bitcoin allows any user to have personal custody of their money, without relying on banks or financial institutions.
Anyone can participate in the development of Bitcoin, and all decisions go through a complex governance system.
This paradigm shift generated thousands of supporters, which made Bitcoin’s popularity grow over time.
But web3 didn’t stop there.
In 2014, Ethereum was launched, allowing smart contracts to be written on a blockchain.
Social media and video-sharing platforms have created the concept of “digital influencer”, allowing literally anyone to gain influence over millions from a studio set up in their own bedroom.
The interaction on the social networks became not only about content, but also about emotions. You don’t need to create a comment, you can simply mark that you liked it.
The main factors that allowed the creation, evolution and popularization of web2 were the creativity of the developers, the concept of open source code and, mainly, the improvement of infrastructure (connection speed, intelligent cashing, mobile devices with 3G and 4G connection, etc.).
Importantly, web2 has contributed greatly to globalization as real-time interactions have become increasingly common.
In the 1990s no one could have predicted how the Internet would unfold in the future.
- Artificial intelligence, which selects the most relevant options for information (search engines are actively engaged in it, reducing the role of organic search results)
- Semantic Web or an option that allows machines to better interact with humans by understanding and interpreting the meaning of human words
- Use of 3D images and graphics
- A new level of security and privacy through decentralization (blockchain) – freedom from censorship and surveillance due to the lack of a control center – distributed ledger, and decentralized finance (Defi)
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Difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 are consistent technologies with a common background, but they solve their problems in different ways.
- Web and File Servers
- Search Engines (including AltaVista and Yahoo!)
- E-mail accounts (Yahoo!, Hotmail)
- Peer-to-Peer File Sharing (Napster, BitTorrent) and others.
- Wikis and others.
- Searching Using Semantics
- Databases of Information
- Intelligent Digital Personal Assistants and others.
Hence, these were the major difference between Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 having their own uniqueness.
A publisher could use web for displaying the information, and the user can easily get access to this information by visiting the publisher’s website. Thus, this stage is also known as the early stage of the evolution of web. During this period, only text mails could be written and sent.
One could not upload or attach any images or pictures.
The second stage of evolution of web can be termed as Web 2.0. According to Wikipedia, this phrase has been coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004. During this stage, websites grew in terms of interaction capabilities.
One can also relate this phase with websites like YouTube and Blogger. This phase is particularly related with the social networking concepts. Berner Lee has also described it as a “read write” web. The terms like Blogs, social-media and video streaming gained momentum during Web 2.0.
This opened up a whole new range of options, like decentralized applications (dApps) and decentralized finance (DeFi).
Decentralized applications are systems in which there is no intermediary agent. Imagine a bookmaker where there is no company responsible for taking the money from those who lost and paying to those who won, but everything is managed by an algorithm in an automated way (smart contract), with public consent. That would be an example of a dApp.
But what about DeFi?
Decentralized finance (DeFi) represents complex financial activities such as trading and loan management that are performed without a centralizing agent.
Dapps and DeFi came true thanks to Ethereum.
But in addition to Ethereum, hundreds of other decentralized projects and concepts have emerged in recent years.
From money, to information, all exchanges are conducted without the need for tech companies, banks, or any other middlemen.
So if Web 2.0 makes the user the product, Web 3.0 makes the user the content owner.
A few elements that define Web 3.0 may include:
- Semantic web, where web tech is improved to create, share, and connect content through search and analysis, based on comprehension not key words.
- AI and ML
- Connectivity of multiple applications and devices, through the Internet of Things
- 3-D graphics
- Interactivity without need to go through a trusted intermediary
- Participation without the need for authorisation from a governing body
Thanks to Geeksforgeeks.org, we can see all of this in a handy lil table.