Web 2 & 3 Explained: Will There be an Evolution of the Internet?


Isn't it wild to think that decades ago, instead of taking out your smartphone and opening the browser to Google, the normal thing was to go to a library and pick out a book? Not only would you need to search for a book, but you would have to spend hours hunting for the resources needed. You can only imagine how revolutionary it was to have the internet accessible to the public. The web back in the early 1990s was formatted as a one-way communication channel where people could only consume information, and then everything changed in the early 2000s. We are now in the era of Web 2.0, where we not only consume but also contribute information to the internet, and much more! The first, second, and third generations of the internet are referred to as Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0. While the third version is still not a fully established concept, it is an idea worth educating yourself on.

Quick Overview of Web 1.0

First off, if you do not understand what Web 2 is, we need to backtrack a little and explain what Web 1 is. Web 1 was a read-only, one-way communication format that was active between 1991-2004. It was an initial overview of the Internet that only contained raw HTML code. The Internet was mainly static pages done by web developers meant for users to passively receive information. Since it was read-only, there were no fancy graphic designs or ads put up at this time. Logging into an account was unheard of, as well as interactions with other people, and then came along Web 2.

World Wide Web - Second Generation

The term Web 2 was coined in the early 2000s when interactive sites began to flourish, like Facebook for example. You could create posts, comment, and create content without needing to know what coding is. Web servers also became application-based servers that contained the logic to facilitate the ability to create, read, update, and delete information from databases. JavaScript and HTML 5 created a pathway for large technology companies to implement their strategies and vision to have a 2-way communicating world. Some well-known examples of these companies are Google, Facebook (Meta), and Amazon. Receiving information is still incorporated into Web 2, but a big component of this new generation is the information everyone around the world can add. Social media is not only something that people use to interact with family and friends, but it has developed as an essential part of marketing and advertising tactics.

How Our Data Is Used

Advertisements are incorporated differently depending on who the consumer is. No matter what you are on, whether it is Instagram, Google, TikTok, or Snapchat, the algorithm adapts to where the user's interests lie. Data is collected from searches made, locations, IP addresses, videos watched, or purchases made. Think of it as your bedroom, if anyone in the world could live in that bedroom, they could change the flooring, wall paint, decorations, and furniture to make it feel like their own room. It is the same situation with your technological devices, there are constant modifications to serve the consumer better content and therefore stay on any site longer. The reason there are such well-targeted advertisements and content is that these companies own the data you provide them, and therefore they can sell it to other sources.

Web 3.0 Functionality

There is no universally accepted definition of Web 3, but the point is that it is centralized on the idea that data and information are to be processed by the user's needs. Websites and applications are built on decentralized blockchain technology for better ubiquity, connectivity, and more control and ownership stakes of the internet applications and sites users are involved with.

Contrasts from Web 2

Unlike Web 2 where you are the “product”, in Web 3 you would be the owner of your content and you would have the option of selling your data. This decentralized online ecosystem is based on blockchain technology. Users could exchange information without the need of a middleman like a bank or a technology company, it would be strictly between those users involved. The data is said to be stored and distributed in a democratic way. Each user will be able to participate by utilizing digital assets like “tokens”. Cryptocurrency would incentivize users to participate in Web 3, although it is unclear how this could be regulated on a larger scale. The idea of Web 3 is made up of smaller concepts that grow together until centralized companies are disassembled while DAOS (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) grow to replace them. Web 3 is an abstract concept that more and more people are becoming familiar with, but the internet will not make a rapid change all at once.

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