— hype or spin?

There’s another possibility, of course, which is that it’s on to something, as the ending of the previous post hinted. I think many people, however, have quite understandably grown wary and skeptical of the use of these sorts of bland, meaningless labels as simply a means of generating mostly a lot of froth and buzz. For an unfortunate example of that, we only need to look at another article in that first issue of Nodalities (PDF), “The Value of Web 3.0”, by Mills Davis. As in this (p. 4):

Information-centric patterns of computing have reached the limit of what they can provide to cope with problems of scale, complexity, security, mobility, rich media interaction, and autonomic behavior.

Web 3.0 will solve these problems and lay a foundation for the coming ubiquitous Web of connected intelligences. The Web 3.0 solution, simply put, is to give the internet a knowledge space.

Wow. “Connected intelligences”, no less. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were a real effort to add substance, or specificity, to that notion of “knowledge”, but instead he just falls back on the by now too-familiar and banal repetition of the coming wonders of “semantic” machines:

Current systems including the internet are designed to operate with predefined parameters. Change spells trouble. Mobility is a problem. Semantic ecosystems, however, will be futureproof, able to grow dynamically, evolve, adapt, self-organize, and self-protect.

Riiight. Whatever, dude.

On the other hand….

I received an interesting email from a colleague today that pointed to another article on the label, “Web 3.0 Through the Ages“, by Josh Catone, on the ReadWriteWeb blog, and this one’s a distinct improvement:

It already feels like we’ve been talking about Web 3.0 for ages, even though we don’t know yet know exactly what Web 2.0 is. What are the various ways that Web 3.0 has been defined over the past three years, and why is it helpful to talk about what the next web will look like?

His summary of a number of more or less different definitions or meanings the label has acquired in the last little while is particularly interesting as possibly indicating some converging developments:

Blogger Jonas Bolinder has painstakingly assembled a list of some of the most talked about definitions of Web 3.0 over the past three years. He’s broken them down into 4 basic definition groups: the Semantic Web (which is what might enable the “decentralized me”), the proliferation of APIs and web services (aren’t we already living that?), the rise of the mobile web, smart devices, and web applications (maybe the just launched Live Mesh has something to do with Web 3.0?), and the “implicit web.”

It’s starting to sound a bit like the story of the blind men and the elephant — there may well be a common emerging reality underlying these distinct phenomena and focuses, and the label may be the least important aspect of it.

UPDATE: Best comment to above RRW post: “Web 3.0 is yesterday’s news. Everybody I know has already moved on to Web 4.0″

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