ReadWriteWeb has an interesting article about what’s after Web 2.0. It got me thinking about where all of this technology is heading. First, let me state that we should stop trying to “version” the web as it just gives people definitions to argue about. There were some comments regarding even more multimedia content becoming available, the semantic web and personalization taking off and of course comments on business models. There are some very good ideas, but it seems like people are expecting a big bang when someone figures out “web 3.0”. The problem is, this process is more like evolution. Web 2.0 was not a big bang. People were trying various ways to get more dynamic content onto their pages. XmlHttpRequest was actually something that existed for quite some time, but was unused because user’s bandwidth could not handle too much data all the time. With consumer broadband, we saw that a more dynamic web was possible. Slowly, this dynamic concept took hold. It is all about baby steps. You can’t shock people with change, it does not get adopted very well. But if you slowly change things, it is much easier for your users to absorb.
The semantic web is the poster child for the future of the web. This is the big bang that everyone keeps waiting for. I hate to tell you, but the semantic web will not burst onto the scene. There is too much change required by people creating the content on the web for a big bang to occur. People need to “semantically enable” their content. This is getting easier, but most people are going to ignore it until there is significant acceptance of semantic web technologies. That being said, the ReadWriteWeb article had a fantastic comment regarding what will happen:
Image via CrunchBaseThe idea is that as people adopt semantic technologies, they get integrated into everything. Microsoft bought PowerSet in an attempt to leverage their semantic technology. Will standard algorithmic search become obsolete? I do not think so, but it will evolve just like everything else. In 5 years will the search algorithms look anything like they did 3 years ago? No, but it will not be a big jump from one algorithm to another. It will start with semantic technologies being add-ons to our existing technology. People will see the benefits long before they realize that it was semantic technology underneath.
Image via CrunchBaseDo you want big bang change? The mobile space is as close as you can get. Regardless of the hype behind the original iPhone, it was not the first touch screen mobile phone. However, it is one of the first phones that has the techies drooling and has mass consumer appeal. With the first Google Android phone being delivered as I write this, the consumer mobile space is primed for rapid growth. BlackBerry is even making its’ phones more consumer friendly, starting with the Curve, and with new touchscreen devices coming as well. Now that the phones have a usable and larger interface, developers can actually work with the platform. We have already seen some iPhone applications making more than $100,000. The application stores that the mobile companies are now building allow people to buy the applications in a much simpler manner. Currently, if you have a BlackBerry, where do you buy applications? There may be some weird interface for a “mall” that you can get to from your phone, but the process is far too hard for most people. I do not buy applications for my BlackBerry because of this. Now, applications are readily available or soon will be through these central stores.
For consumers, this is a huge deal. Consumers tend to have less patience as they are not “trying out” a device. They want one that works, and maybe buy some ringtones and applications for it. The process has to be really simple in order to gain acceptance. With the iPhone, all of these ideas have converged. This has forced the hands of many device manufacturers to respond, and Google created Android in order to compete as well. This is a very exciting time to be into the mobile industry. However, do not expect a big bang of acceptance. These phones are still expensive for the average consumer. Prices will slowly drop and adoption of these devices will slowly increase. Eventually, you will realize you REALLY can not go anywhere without your phone.
The revolution begins when the mobile devices have access to the semantic-enabled applications that are now running on your phone. With technologies like GPS on your phone, you will be able to go into a city and if you get hungry, find a restaurant to eat at. However the restaurant you chose will be someplace that one of your friends recommended and happens to be within one mile of where you are. Right now, you have to login to a social network to find the recommendation of an Italian restaurant, map the location on the GPS-enabled phone and get directions.
What if your phone realizes that it is around dinner time and just displays a restaurant’s location based on your friend’s recommendation all without you asking for it? That would be cool.