Information Technology > The Web 3.0 Revolution

The Web 3.0 Revolution

Published: May 26, 2008

Web 3.0 is the embodiment of a standardised semantic web where more meaning can be associated with the data behind web pages. It will allow browsers, websites and web spiders to extract more meaning from the web and aid a better user experience for those looking for a variety of different information.

The Semantic Web is the dream of Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and the director of the W3C. He is also the holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His goal is to coax the world to move on to the new standards set by the W3C and by doing so, allow a semantic web to become a reality.

The reality of a semantic web may not be that far away but new standards do take considerable time to propagate. There are two major hurdles:

  1. getting the major browsers to support the new standards
  2. having web publishers change their web page formatting to conform to the new standards

Conforming publishers is a much easier hurdle as there will be a swift change in the way web pages are formatted as soon as publishers realise there is a benefit to changing. For instance, Google's search engine is based on idea of finding meaningful information using a small number of keywords. If Google's search engine can gather more meaning on web pages that use the new standards, then publishers using older standards may not have their work ranked as highly by Google thus creating an incentive to make the jump. Even if Google isn't the company to show the advantage of jumping to the new standards there will be a whole host of others lined up show what Web 3.0 is all about.

Getting major browsers to support the new standards in good time will be a tough task. A semantic web can only really begin once either of the standards XHTML 2.0 or HTML5 have taken hold. Both standards are yet to be finalised by the W3C. The browser adoption of XHTML 2.0's predecessor, XHTML 1.0, remains incomplete after its W3C recommendation in 2000. Even if both standards are released this year how long will it be until either standard is supported amongst the major browsers?

The reality of a semantic web really lies in the hands of the makers of the major browsers. The world begins to look at Microsoft and the IE team who still have the predominant browser on the market. Their track record for following standards is appalling and their product release cycles have been slow to say the least. If a semantic web truly offers a revolution in the form of a fresh and meaningful web environment perhaps the world will not wait for IE and will leave it flailing in the dust.


1. bay on May 29, 2008

Go FireFox!

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