Web 3.0 – The Next Generation of the Internet
‘The Read-Only Web’ – otherwise known as Web 1.0 – was the first iteration of the internet. Webpages were static and most users were just consumers of content. Over the last thirty years, advancements in web technologies have changed the way we use the internet - and the next generation is already on its way.
Our current version of the internet is Web 2.0 - or ‘The Social Internet’. Interactive web platforms and smart phones with mobile internet access have resulted in a platform for user-generated content, centred around participation and collaboration. Social media sites (Facebook, Instagram), blogs (Tumblr) and media-sharing websites (YouTube) all encourage users to create, as well as consume content. For the most part, we will utilise Web 3.0 in the same way. So why do so many believe it could revolutionise the internet?
Enhanced User Experience
One aim of Web 3.0 is to make searching more efficient. An extension of the web – known as ‘The Semantic Web’ – will make internet data readable to machines. Currently, information on the internet is tagged with search terms, which requires users to search keywords to find content. The vision for the semantic web is to update software programmes with machine-interpretable metadata (data about other data). Machines will be able to read and understand the concept and context of data, therefore providing more accurate results and an enhanced user experience.
Web 3.0 will also be more immersive. In fact, digital assistants like Siri and Alexa could be considered examples of Web 3.0 applications, which combine AI and voice recognition. In the future, we may rely more on using voice or gestures to interact with technology.
More Reliable Network
Web 3.0 will have a decentralised data network (also referred to as the D-Web). Whereas Web 2.0 uses a centralised data network that relies on a single server to handle all the processing, a decentralised data network is controlled by a cluster of domain controllers. It’s not an issue if one fails - multiple machines share the network load. This also makes the network much easier to scale, as more machines can be added for further computing power. Web 3.0 has the potential to be more reliable, with more opportunity to expand.
Improved Autonomy Over Privacy and Data
A decentralised data network will offer us more privacy and autonomy over our data. With a decentralised network, data passes through multiple points, making it harder to track. Web 2.0 is a centralised data network. Currently, Big Tech companies such as Google and Microsoft generate enormous profit by collecting and tracking our data – from everything we search, to every website that we visit – and using it to target tailored advertisements to us. In a decentralised data network, data is owned by the user, who will be able to monetise it themselves, whilst maintaining data privacy. We will also be able to use the internet without being tracked, using anonymous blockchain authentication known as internet identities. Users have identity ‘anchors’ (for example, face ID or a fingerprint sensor) assigned to cryptographically enabled devices, enabling them to use the web anonymously.
Less Surveillance and Censorship
Web 3.0 will be created using an open-source codebase. This means that the base code can be accessed and modified by anyone, so the development of Web 3.0 will not be attributed to one person. Without centralised ownership of services or platforms, we will be able to interact free from surveillance or censorship, without the need for authorisation from a governing body or trusted intermediary. This could benefit content creators, who often raise concerns over unfair demonetisation and platforms prioritising the needs of advertisers.
The Future of the Internet
By using an array of advanced web technologies, Web 3.0 has the potential to transform the internet as we know it. By giving us more autonomy over our data, privacy, and content - as well as a more reliable and enhanced user-experience – Web 3.0 could empower consumers and creators alike.