Web 3.0 is what you make it

Play-dohI recently got sent this very well-written article by Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and a this video of Eric Schmidt from Google both answering the question “What is Web 3.0?”

Well, not surprisingly both definitions are highly biased toward the bets that their respective companies are making. Marc thinks it’s cloud computing, or SaaS, or a world without deployed software. Hmm, Salesforce.com is not beating a new drum there. Eric also think it’s cloud computing, but a huge number of point solutions launched and tied to together with open architectures. That sounds awfully like Google’s product strategy.

Of course, I don’t think either of these guys is trying to requisition the term “Web 3.0” in a greedy or underhanded way. Their corporate directions are only a logical result of where they genuinely think things are going – not vice versa.

But I think they’re both wrong about Web 3.0. To see why, you just have to climb into Marc’s article a bit. In it he defines Web 1.0 as “anyone can transact,” Web 2.0 as “anyone can participate,” and Web 3.0 as “anyone can innovate.” The problem is he switched what he meant by “anyone” in the Web 3.0 instance. The first two were sea changes for everyday users, and I like and agree with his definitions there. The third one is a sea change for developers, which will arguably go unnoticed by users. And sadly, there are still a lot more users than developers. So his definition is more like Web 2.5.

That said, I don’t know exactly what Web 3.0 will be. But I do think the following things:

1. There will be one. A 3.0, that is. The Internet is not reaching maturity, more like just headed into adolescence.

2. 3.0 will come about as a result of another sea change in the user experience, not just the developer experience.

3. It will have something to do with the reversal of informational flow. Instead of you searching to find it, it will find you.

In the meantime, Web 3.0 could be whatever you want it to be. Which means your web company is headed in exactly the right direction.

My related post over at The Engaged Consumer: Marketing 2015: Where Everybody Knows Your Name