The Web of things

Pic from google

So, if you’re anything like me, with the technological understanding the range of a teaspoon, the next few phrases Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web 4.0, semantic web, make you cringe more than you care to admit, causing about as much confusion in your mind as the white and gold dress of 2015… or was it blue and black? Determined to push past my initial feeling to run for the hills, the following is my attempt to convert those words and expressions into layman’s terms for the others like me.

Caught in a web of Webs?

To understand Web 2.0 and 3.0 it is important to go back to the beginning of the World Wide Web. I say this because for a long time I thought these phrases were distinctions of the ‘www’, however this is incorrect, they are in fact not used in relation to the actual development of the world wide web itself. The world wide web is a separate entity, ever changing and evolving, but web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 does not refer to a technical update of the underlying software or hardware of the web itself, but rather the way in which the web is being used, by individuals, businesses, universities and society at large (Anderson, 2012). Still unclear? See the picture below, which gives a visualisation of the different webs, and how the uses vary to conceptualize it.


In layman’s terms then:

Web 1.0 is considered by Berners-Lee as the ‘read-only’ web, where the early stages of the web allowed us to solely search for information and then read it.

Web 2.0, aptly named the ‘read-write’ web, is distinguished from its predecessor by the user interaction and content contribution which is integral to its existence. The Web 2.0 is a welcome result of the demand created by consumers, wishing to be more involved in the information that is presented and available to interact with it.

Web 3.0 in essence is about the computer doing smart stuff, to extend on Berners-Lee definition, Web 3.0 can be considers the ‘read-write-execute’ web, concerned with creating a large database of the web which links everything together, where the links mean something. Berners-Lee, web father, writes how it is all about relationship of information and the semantic web is “a grand vision for creating online content that can be processed automatically by computers”.

Karan Patel explains, Web 4.0 is not an entirely new idea, it is an alternative adaption of the direction of the internet in the future to connect all devices in the real and virtual world in real-time via the internet.

Lastly, Web 5.0, although the concept is still in development, will be a linked web that communicates with individuals as we communicate with one another. Currently the web is ’emotionally’ neutral, but with Web 5.0 it will be able to sense the users emotional reactions to things.

For businesses, this development of the way in which the web is used is crucial, not only to understand but to adapt with it. During the early Web 1.0 stages,  the businesses goal was for a website was to establish an online presence and make their information available


to the public at any time, which was not confined by the brick and mortar store. During Web 2.0, the public consumers of the website can give feedback and reviews and even enter into competitions. Web 3.0 then is concerned with the web server interacting with the consumers, for example a clothing website making recommendations on other items that may interest and individual based on their previous browsing patterns.



Depiction of the five webs and their characteristics. Source: TrendONE

Thoughts on this…

My stance is that of a sheep I’m afraid to say, I can see the benefits and the negatives, yet being ultimately dependent on the internet as I am, I know that I am not going to do anything, or will I be able to do anything to stop this process. What are your thoughts?

– J

References in order of appearance:

Chapter 15, Anderson, P. (2012). Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies. CRC Press,Boca Raton, FL


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