Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Web 3.0 Explained ... Simply!

Several years ago I attended a presentation by another software company and the presenter used an acronym that I wasn't entirely familiar with. So I asked him what it meant. He actually didn't know.

Such is my suspicion when people start using esoteric words to describe a concept. About a month ago I received an invitation to the Beta version of what is supposed to be the premier attempt at a Web 3.0 website: Twine This precipitated me to read up extensively on the subject.

My first conclusion is that Web 3.0 is not really that difficult to understand. My second is to try to avoid using the word "semantic" to describe it. Most everyone talking about Web 3.0 uses this "S" word but I doubt that 99% of average people hearing it have no idea what it means! A golden rule of effective communication is to not say anything that the listener/reader does not understand.

In essence, Web 3.0 simply means that the content of every website will be internally stored in such a way as to make it much more searchable, like a giant database. Whereas right now Google and such try to figure out what a page "means" by indexing all the words and phrases on it. But they don't actually understand what the page is about.

For example, imagine two web pages:
  1. The first has these sentences on it: "When I walked into the house I saw several pictures of dogs but never did I meet an actual dog. Only later did I learn that the owner loved dogs but was allergic so couldn't keep any himself."
  2. And the second has this sentence: "When I walked into the house, I was immediately greeted by several dogs."
Now, try to create a search in Google that is equivalent to this sentence: "Find for me the homes of people who own dogs." Both of the aforementioned web pages would be returned. In fact, the first would probably be returned much higher because "dog" is referred to 3 times. But yet there are no dogs in that house.

Web 3.0 tries to interpret each sentence and store it internally in a way that a computer will understand and be able to search.

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