In a move that’s being heavily questioned by folks like Mathew Ingram, Brad Feld, and Fred Wilson, Jason Calacanis went out on a limb (well, more like “walked kinda near the edge, but not too close”) and “defined” Web 3.0 last night:
Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.
Web 3.0 is a label that will never see the light of day. Caveat: except for people who attempt to define it. My prediction for what comes next can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this post.
Now I’ll back it up a bit. Web 2.0 is a term used by few. I’d personally put the number between 500K and 2MM people. I made that up, but base it on TechCrunch readership and a small multiplier effect, and I can’t see it much higher. And yes, my Valley-based brethren, we really do live in a bit of an echo-chamber. Even if I’m wrong by 100%, it’s still a few million people at best.
Part of the problem is the ongoing debate of what Web 2.0 means. Per Brad’s comment, it’s one of those techie labels for things that don’t truly have a definition. It seems to be “Web companies that were launched in 2004 or later, and heavily leverage open APIs, RSS, AJAX, or something to do with Google.”
Some people are using terms like “semantic Web” (I like Brian’s post on this, although I disagree with him too), which I also think will not get mainstream. First, most people don’t know what the word “semantic” means (I think it has something to do with Yom Kippur and bagels, but I may be wrong). Second, like Jason’s Web 3.0 definition, it’s just not BIG enough.
The Internets are used by lots of people, including the U.S. Americans, the South Africans, and the people who don’t have maps. Most of these people are playing games, downloading music, lingering on MySpace, and doing other massively popular activities. By comparison, Facebook doesn’t even cause a dimple in the stats of overall international Internet use.
So let’s get all these points together:
- We have a nebulous term for the current state of the Web, and the “sequel” term is even more nebulous.
- We have technology that is far above the awareness and comprehension of the typical Web user.
- The Internet works good. Seriously – things are pretty sweet. They were sweet before Twitter, Yelp, and the current wave of lifecasting, social networking, and other “frills” showed up.
Relative to this, the so-called Web 3.0 or semantic Web movements will be minor, if they exist at all. The catalysts for explosive growth aren’t there. The Internet, dialup, and Web browsers fueled the dot-com explosion (forget the collapse right now). Broadband Internet reaching over 50% of US households is fueling Web 2.0 growth (forget the impending bubble deflation right now).The next wave to bank on is Everywhere Internet. Truly pervasive access will cause the next batch of entrepreneurs to create amazing new services. I don’t know which technology platform will win, nor will I predict the timing, but I wouldn’t assume any “big waves” occurring without Everywhere Internet.