I’m weighing in in favor of Web 3.0 as an alias for the Semantic Web. I know there are a lot of people who will roll their eyes and initiate some anti hype exorcism, but let’s have a sober look at the pluses and minuses here.
Web 3.0 is not without its problems. The first is that everyone is defining it to their own ends. As Montoya Herald summed it up at http://www.christianmontoya.com/2007/10/08/web-30-i-about-money/, Web 3.0 is essentially whatever each of the companies that used the term are working on next. The second problem is that it does pander to the hypemeisters. But the very people who decry hype the loudest are often those who benefit from it the most .(Who can argue that the hype of the Web and Web 2.0 didn’t advance the careers and opportunities of the very people who now think Web 3.0 is hype?)
A lot of people seem to be comfortable with Web 2.0 now, despite the fact that it has no real unifying principle. Web 2.0 is blogs and wikis and Facebook and MySpace (user-generated content) and AJAX and Rich Internet Applications for a richer user experience in a browser, but really there isn’t anything holding it together or giving it a defined shape.
Maybe we don’t need to call the Semantic Web: Web 3.0. But if we don’t, some other marginal improvement in an existing technology will claim the moniker. In other words, there will be a Web 3.0 and we will find ourselves explaining to people, “Well, yes, but that is just a part of the vision…”
Isn’t the term “Semantic Web” good enough? It’s good for the population that is already “in the tent,” but it suffers from being the next big thing for too long for many others. Many people have discounted what they believe the Semantic Web to be (often by making up things that it isn’t and then objecting to that straw man). Web services suffered from a similar fate for a long time, as thought leaders confused it with services delivered over the web (Software as a Service, for instance) which it has some things in common with, but the two aren’t the same. For some, calling the Semantic Web: Web 3.0 gives an opportunity to take another look.
So, I’m coming down in favor of “Web 3.0 = Semantic Web.” What do you think?