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By Randy Reiser
If you are fortunate enough to have techy-types in your life, you’ve more than likely heard the latest industry buzz term, “Web 2.0". While not everyone agrees, those that believe in the 2.0 concept maintain that it differentiates itself from Web 1.0 by being more than just simply informational, but interactive thanks for social media, RSS feeds, and the expansion of web beyond the computer. What cannot be denied, however, is that as technologies continue to develop, the internet will continue to evolve, and at some point we’ll arrive at what people begin to call “Web 3.0". So, what’s in store for us?
As you’re probably aware, current search engine algorithms focus on analyzing keywords, links, and other inputs to rate the relevance of a web site to a query. If I query “Pearl Jam Tour 2011", then a friend comes along and Googles the same phrase, we’re both likely to see the same results. The prediction, however, is that in the next generation of the internet, Google and other search engines will be able to actually learn your behaviors, essentially creating a unique profile for you based on your browsing history that will enable it to return results that are specifically tailored to the way you behave on the internet. The search engine would eventually get so keen on who you are that you would be able to query “I want to travel to a warm destination for $5000", the search engine would return the destinations that it “feels" would be most enjoyable for you. Furthermore, however, it would also return things to do while on your vacation, all based on your profile.
Of course, nobody is quite sure how the outlined version of Web 3.0 would function. It could function by using the aforementioned profiles, APIs, or mashups - the combination of two or more applications into a single application (Howstuffworks.com). At the moment none of these technologies are mature enough to apply to Web 3.0 as it’s imagined, so any of them could rise to prevalence. Or, it could be none of them. The man to whom we owe the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, believes that the internet will continue to function essentially how it currently does, but in a more complex manner. His idea is that search engine crawlers will become privy to ontologies (a file that defines the relationships among a group of terms) contained in metadata, and use them to gain a deep insight into how keywords are used and in what context on a web page. Building all of this information into the back-end code of every web site, however, would be a cumbersome task.
At the end of the day, everything I’ve written about in this blog post could be completely wrong. The technology of the internet could evolve into a completely different place than we’ve imagined, and it wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened. What is certain, however, is that when the next generation of internet technology arrives, it’s sure to revolutionize the way we live our lives just as the first generation(s) have!
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