The Web has moved through two stages so far with Web 1.0 basically as a set of static pages and Web 2.0 characterised as the age of interactivity and participation. Web 3.0, according to Bradley Kirkland, CEO of Stone Soup Tech Solutions, can be best characterised by its semantic, behavioural, and contextual search, curated content, and engaged communication.
As the next evolution of the Web, Web 3.0 moves away from centralised data archives to a more open and decentralised use of data that embraces the ideas of the blockchain, with data using strong encryption shared on a case-by-case basis.
The Semantic Web
Currently, the content on the billions of web pages that constitute the Web has no meaning to the search engines that index their contents. Search engines use keywords embedded in each page of each website to surface content to users that may be relevant to the information they want. This means that search engines cannot interpret the context of the content they index.
The Semantic Web is thus designed to provide context and a deeper understanding of each page and is the next logical step in the web’s evolution and could open a whole new world of information gathering, exchange and analysis.
The concept of the Semantic Web is the brainchild of the original creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He released his paper ‘The Semantic Web’ in 2001 and explained that the idea behind the Semantic Web is to weave a Web that will not only link documents to each other but will also recognise the meaning of the information in those documents.
This vision of a Semantic Web involves a universal library which can readily be accessed and used while serving as the backbone for software or computational agents to utilise autonomously and to perform and anticipate activities. “The Semantic Web will bring structure to the meaningful content of Web pages, creating an environment where software agents roaming from page to page can readily carry out sophisticated tasks for users” (Berners-Lee et al. 2001).
For consumers and businesses alike, this could open a whole new channel where data has value but also a meaning and context that machines can understand. The practical result is better, safer services for everyone.