I am giving a presentation at the 2007 Adventure & Backpacker Industry Conference in Sydney next month and one of the session topics is beyond Web 2.0. This has got me thinking a lot about Web 3.0 for want of a better term.
While working on my presentation I realised that Web 2.0 from a marketing perspective is certainly well documented – but from an operational perspective there is still so much all businesses can do to capitalise on the new technologies of Web 2.0. The underpinning thought revolves around the use of data to make your business better. We recognise that marketing in the new Web is about giving your customers better access to information – real information, information they can use in the decision-making process. Whether that be reviews from fellow traveller, tag categorisation of items by other web users, your address loaded directly onto a Google map for useable direction or opinions directly from the company on a blog – the underlying concept being a better presentation of data and user generated data – in other words, not corporate marketing bullshit.
Yet in most business operations the idea of better use of information (data) based on leveraging Web 2.0 technologies is poorly executed. I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go into it here – but over the next two weeks as I flesh out my presentation I will keep you updated with snippets.
Anyway, this thinking about using Web 2.0 technologies such as RSS for faster information flow, open source solutions for company management and wikis and blogs for project collaboration has helped me clear up in my own head what I think the next-next web will be.
I have talked before with the guys here at Xebidy about the Web as an application. Indeed, I believe that the travel planner we are developing under our own steam is a small step toward this. It allows the user to traverse a website collecting items of interest on a scratch pad which they can then manipulate onto calendars, maps, social media such Facebook and through a raft of booking systems all using web services. The planner users multiple windows more akin to a desktop application and allows the user to manipulate the data through drag and drop to create their own information. This I believe is what real Web 3.0 will be.
If Web 2.0 is about users creating the content, Web 3.0 will be about users using the content to create their own information solutions. In Web 2.0 we refer to mash-ups as the creating of a new piece of functionality by combining two or more pieces of independent data – say mapping hostel locations onto a Google Map. But this functionality is inevitably created by your web developer – not your average web user.
In Web 3.0 I believe the user will be able to traverse the Internet at large collecting data as they go and combining into their own information architecture; a destination guide from Lonely Planet, Wake Up hostel in Sydney, Auckland Central backpackers in Auckland, combined with a Virgin Blue flight, stored on my Google Calendar and displayed on a multi-map map – information gathered from many independent sites and Ã¢â‚¬Å“mashedÃ¢â‚¬Â together by the user to create their very own travel planner.
I am very interested in an MIT project called Piggy Bank, which is a plugin for the Firefox browser and is supposed to allow a user to gather data in exactly this way from a variety of websites (LinkedIn and Flickr in particular) and strip that data of presentation to be used in a new ways.
Wikipedia starts by referring to Web 3.0 as the Semantic Web – where content is associated with meaning not just text with tags. I see this as being a bit too philosophical – how about a definition of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Web as an ApplicationÃ¢â‚¬Â