People are still trying to make the most of the new-and-improved features that came out in Web 2.0, and here we are all talking about Web 3.0 and even newer and more improved features. This is the way of the Internet Age, though, as can be seen with the way that all the affiliated technologies (computers, communications, etc.) continue an unending evolution, too.
That said, many of the experts that are quoted on these matters are saying some intriguing things. Web 3.0 will be like your personal assistant, they say, who will know all about you and your tastes, likes and dislikes, and will know what you want from the Web before you do. That can be a scary thought, but if you take the PR talk and hype down a notch, what they are saying is that all of your information will be in circulation to do you all kinds of good. As long as you can control it, it could be a good thing. Unfortunately, the less tech-savvy folks may end up getting in over their heads. Again.
Others are comparing Web 3.0 to a gigantic database. Web 2.0 connects people to people, primarily, but the latest and greatest will connect to data. Since there are no firm plans or standards yet, other experts are talking about Web 3.0 being a kind of parallel universe next to Web 2.0. Still others say this is hogwash, and that a full replacement of the existing Web infrastructure is in store. Whatever ends up happening, those who keep abreast of the changes, of course, will fare the best. If you work in Web design or hosting, or rely on the Internet for your company’s existence, you should be studying up on all this right now.
The examples given by the Web 3.0 boosters are seductive. If you are considering a vacation in a warm locale, have set a budget of $3,000, have a firm schedule, and even know the things you want and don’t want in a resort, you still have to do a lot of surfing and re-inputting of information to make all the plans. You would need to do research on your destinations and decide on one. You might have to log on to three or four travel Web sites to check the prices on flights and hotels. Obviously, you would spend a great deal of time on search results pages, and the whole thing could take you hours.
Brave new world?
Our experts would tell you that all this work should be done by the Web itself, in concert with your computer and your settings (which you are supposed to control, but which may try to take over as many current Web 2.0 operations do). A single search with multiple parameters should feed your new, spiffy 3.0-powered browser all it needs to analyze data and display not just results, but also a few optional decisions. What this means is that you are allowing all of your data to flow out into the void and go to work for you, which certainly does offer advantages, but has many loopholes and danger zones, too.
If that Web 3.0 browser can aggregate information based on likes and dislikes, it is likely that other people might learn a little more about you than you want them to, from your results themselves or from being in a position in the cloud, so to speak, where they can access them. Will your information then show up in third-party searches? Will all the different people, companies and inanimate devices handling your information be secure, and keep your confidential data confidential? We don’t know the answers yet.
Ignorant is okay sometimes
When you do a search now, on Web 2.0 terms, the search engines do not really understand what you are doing, there is no conclusion drawn from the bits of data going back and forth. All that happens is that your search terms generate lists of pages that have the same terms, whether or not the actual page itself is relevant and helpful to you. A search for Apple, for example, will return results about fruits, Beatles record companies and the maker of iPhones. It is up to you to go through everything and make it relevant and applicable to your intentions.
With contextual searching and smart assistants in Web 3.0, however, interpret what you are doing. Not only will the search find the keywords, it will interpret the context of the request and return much more specific and usable results (a good thing) by knowing more about you than you revealed in this one search (perhaps not so good). In the vacation example, therefore, you might be routed away from some four-star resorts because the search engines have information on your credit rating or bank account. Too farfetched? Perhaps. But we just don’t know yet.
The best thing to do is keep reading about all the changes, and make your voice heard if you can so that the more intrusive capabilities are headed off at the pass. There are many more things to learn about Web 3.0 as far as how design, Web site creation, hosting, security and other issues are concerned. Make sure to check into these areas as you do your research.
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