Think of the web as an ecosystem, a constantly evolving, organic and volatile entity. Just as real world ecosystems have eras, the web too goes through phases. The first phase was the e-era or the dot com era. It became commercially viable to offer content and services online, and a big bunch of companies that were known primarily by their internet addresses came up. This stage of the web was also known as the “bubble”. Web 2.0, came into existence roughly in the second decade of the internet, and this was the “cloud” stage. User interaction, social networking, and user generated content are some of the hallmarks of Web 2.0. Right now, we are on the verge of another era, moving beyond what Web 2.0 has to offer. Tentatively called Web 3.0, exciting times lie ahead, where the web will get more firmly ingrained as a part of our lives. Most of the technology used in Web 2.0, the wikis, the widgets, and the APIs, were around on little used sites, and on design boards long before the onset of Web 2.0. In fact, some of these ideas were around since before the internet itself came into being, let alone the web. To get a clear idea of where the web is headed, it is necessary to have a deeper understanding of the technology that drives it. On the way to Web 3.0, users have conquered massive digital divides, survived a massive bubble burst, and even endured a full fledged war.
What will Web 3.0 have in store for us? The most educated guesses will be short-sighted, but there are a few tantalizing hints from the bleeding edge of Web 2.0 development.