Are you ready for Web 3.0?


The Internet is poised for another revolution with the onset of Web 3.0 technologies.   The Web 3.0 world integrates relevant search, location-based services, mobile enablement and rich social interaction in a single online experience. This new paradigm, according to British technology thought leader Conrad Wolfram, is where “the computer is generating new information” rather than people.  A Web 3.0 environment dramatically enhances the user experience and delivers rich advertising and promotional opportunities for marketers – if companies can get the business model right.

The Web on Steroids

Web 3.0 technologies hold great promise.  Lets take the example of a 30-something planning their second trip to London.  Like many people, they begin their hotel search with Google and a recommendation site like Trip Advisor.  Quickly, they are inundated with hundreds of pages of hotel links to sift through –  a daunting task that often ends in frustration.  Thanks to sophisticated algorithms embedded in Web 3.0 tools, the hotel search would automatically generate a list of 4-6 relevant options based, for example, on their friend’s Facebook recommendations, where they have stayed before, and what people are saying on Foursquare. 

Changing the rules

At its core, Web 3.0 applications use automated personalization and semantic analytics to filter mass amounts of data to generate its relevance-based content. Pertinent information is the goal:  users quickly want content they can use.  A filter would be based on personal needs, tastes, relationships, location and social currency. This is a radically different paradigm than the current Web 2.0 environment where user-driven, volume-heavy search leads to declining relevance as scale increases and tastes become more important. For example, it is no longer germane who 5000 people think has the best pizza in Chicago; it is who my 10 friends think has the best pizza and how we share the gastronomic experience online.  Ethan Beard, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships, asserts in a Knowledge@Wharton newsletter that “a fundamental shift is taking place online, from an information-based web to the people’s web.” 

Platform symbiosis

Given the infancy of these technologies, it is difficult to predict how Web 3.0 will turn out.   The Web 3.0 ecosystem will likely include an integration of various platforms, environments and tools, including:  the convergence of the virtual and physical world;   an applications layer that includes TV-quality open video, 3D simulations, and augmented reality;  human-constructed semantic standards, and pervasive broadband, wireless connectivity and sensors (e.g., video recorders, cameras). In many cases, Web 3.0 applications will be an extension of existing social media (e.g., Facebook), geosocial networking (e.g., Foursquare) and augmented reality (e.g., Layar) platforms.

Tread carefully

Despite its potential, most organizations will approach Web 3.0 carefully.  Like  other transformational technologies, managers will struggle with how to understand, value and then deploy these new tools.  Some leaders will question – with good reason – the ability of Web 3.0 applications to deliver on their personalized, relevance-based promise due to the vastness of the web, the challenge of working with vague concepts such as “good” or “economical” and the likelihood of inaccurate content negatively impacting results.    Not surprisingly, many users will resist organizational plans to leverage their personal information, buying patterns and recommendations.  Furthermore, people will retain legitimate concerns around the privacy and security of their data.

Although in its infancy,  the move to a Web 3.0 world is clearly underway.  This change is bound to make the online world more exciting or more perplexing depending on your vision and experience.

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4 comments so far

  1. Kyle McGuffin (@BSSNET) on

    The opportunity is now for companies to take advantage of this revolution. Companies who are not paying attention or feel that their brand does not need to listen to their customers will not be here in the next 6 months. Look at the leader board in the technology space where I have spent my career. The top three companies are now Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. Where did IBM, Microsoft and Oracle go? Great article.

  2. [...] the above elements – plus emerging mobile and location-based services – into the marketing and operational model will lead to further evolution of the shopping [...]

  3. [...] is no longer solely controlled by its managers.  With the emergence of social media and other new Web 3.0 technologies, brands are now being molded by a diverse group of people whose opinions should be [...]

  4. [...] is no longer solely controlled by its managers.  With the emergence of social media and other new Web 3.0 technologies, brands are now being molded by a diverse group of people whose opinions should be [...]


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