The Evolution of the Internet
It’s the year 2022. If you’re younger than 30 years old, can you imagine a world without the internet? Can you imagine a world where you couldn’t create and consume content in real time? Can you imagine what’s next for the internet? To date, the internet as we know it has experienced three iterations, known as Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. In this article we’ll take a glimpse into the different versions of the web, just to get an idea of where we were, where we are and where we could possibly end up.
Web 1.0 is the term used to describe the earliest iteration of the internet. It is referred to by experts as a “read only” network, meaning users have no interactions with the websites. Most of the development consisted of hyperlinks that pointed to other pages, without any of the visuals we know today. In those days, the internet was not as commercially recognized, and the users of the internet were basically passive.
These features made Web 1.0 suitable for creating personal blogs and directories which directed users to specific content for their viewing pleasure. The websites and blogs could have been used as research sources and, after some time, the information was seen as reliable. Firms used the web 1.0 internet as a catalog or brochure, where their contacts were visible but any interaction with the company was done offline.
The relationship of users to the internet at that time was essentially equal to that of a reader to a book with no bookmark or pencil to personalize the reading experience. That is, until the emergence of user generated content in the web 2.0 era.
Here are some well-known applications of Web 2.0:
Wiki’s: kind of like a user generated encyclopedia, allowing for the updating of information as it’s happening. For example, let’s say an athlete wins an event. Within seconds, you can probably read about their performance, who they played against etc. Wiki pages are extremely popular and tend to be the first place people go to find information on any topic.
Software as a service (SaaS): where users can go onto the internet to use applications that are only available for their local machines. The software developer may charge a price for certain services given, so it turns out as a win-win.
Social networks: Twitter, facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. Social network websites have enabled users to expand their business and social contacts, keep in touch with friends and family around the globe in real time, and discover new places, people and activities.
Mobile computing: the trend toward users connecting to the web from wherever they may be. That trend is enabled by the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in conjunction with readily accessible Wi-Fi networks.
With web 2.0, the internet became a high school yearbook written in pencil, where anyone with access could write, read or rewrite on the pages. The owner of the books had authority to choose who gets to write in the book or what pages get scrapped. Everything in that yearbook belongs to the owner and they can do anything they want with it. Now let’s look at web 3.
Web 3.0 is the next step in the evolution of the internet, still in its infancy stages. To recap, web 1.0 involved owner generated content. Web 2.0 involves user-generated content. When that content is generated, who has authority over that content? Well, that goes back to the website owner (eg. Meta, Twitter or Wikipedia). And what if a user wanted authority over their own content, you might ask? Well, that’s the problem web 3.0 aims to solve. There are four key features that developers are using to attain it:
Decentralization: This is handled by blockchains. The blockchain stores the information while also establishing trust in a virtual, ownerless world. The information can be retrieved at any time and can be kept in several locations simultaneously. This method of storage is in contrast to the centralized data stored in large databases owned by giant companies.
Permissionless Trust: This feature allows participants to communicate directly with each other, without the need for a third party intermediary. Therefore, the user doesn’t need to give out irrelevant information to satisfy an intermediary.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning: The goal is for computers to understand information as well as a human does, which will provide even greater ease in internet browsing.
Connectivity and Ubiquity: The internet will be accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time. This is done through the Internet of Things, which connects devices like smart appliances and allows for the collection of data points from typically every-day objects.
Web 3.0 essentially allows all participants to own a piece of the network. Applications of web3.0 involve DAOs, Dapps, NFTs and cryptocurrencies. They have each already provided considerable value to their users through various methods of earning and methods of securing digital assets owned by users. Read on to find out more about how applications of web 3.0 can benefit your organization.
Now, unlike the penciled-in yearbook mentioned with web2.0, web3.0 allows you to have authority over what you add as a contributor to the yearbook, gives you control over what you’ve added and allows you to earn from any revenue it generates.
The internet has evolved considerably over the years. Since its introduction, it has moved from a static system with limited access, to a highly interactive platform that is almost universally accessible. We’ve seen the benefits of Web1 and Web2. Now it’s time to create the future with Web3 and make it the most transformative iteration yet.
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