— was the title of a book by Michael Lewis that came out in 2000. It was essentially about one Jim Clark, who had founded Silicon Graphics and then Netscape, as he tries for a Trifecta by starting up a health care website called “Healtheon”. Shortly after the book came out, of course, the (first?) Internet bubble burst. Today, none of the three companies he founded are around, at least as independent entities. There’s certainly an irony, and maybe a lesson, there as we contemplate the “new new thing” buzz swirling about Web 3.0.
But, that said, there remains the nagging sense, from disparate signs and portents, that something significantly new may really be emerging, again. A link made in passing in the previous post probably deserves a little more focus, since it collects a wide range of views on this intriguing possibility — this is a post by Jonas Bolinder, on his blog devoted to “Web 3.0”, entitled “Web 3.0 – The Semantic, Implicit, Mobile, or Distributed Web?“. Despite have a blog focused on the label, Bolinder is no mere “Web 3.0” cheerleader — as one of his posts notes, it looks as though the term may have peaked as a buzzword in October/07, and a post today asks if it’s “Time to Throw Web 3.0 in the Deadpool?“. Still, as the previous summary indicated, there seem to be a number of more or less distinct but related phenomena that are aspects of this change, one of which being the interesting notion of an “implicit web”, of “recommendation and personalization” (see also this Guardian article by Jemima Kiss). It’s all very impressionistic at this stage, admittedly, but one impression that seems to be coming clearer is the dissolution of what were once thought of as stable structures like “web sites” and even “web pages” — information and data are becoming looser, and highly mutable, often created and consumed on the fly, transported in machine readable streams and units, filtered and reconstituted in varying ways only at the point of need, and only for the duration of need. The information is in the “cloud”, and the cloud is everywhere.