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Web 3.0 and 4.0


The web 3.0 is on every mouth. It seems like it’s one of the next buzzes on the internet. What is it? What can we expect from it?

Before describing the WEB 3.0, let’s go a little bit through the history of the web and try to understand the evolution of this living entity that is part of the life of almost everyone on earth nowadays, whether you want it or not, the web is everywhere.


The first question to answer is why? Why was the internet created?


Communications were very limited before the internet, in distance and amount of data. The basic idea was to be able to communicate between separate networks. Until then, the most used model was the mainframe computer but it was not able to exchange outside of its LAN (Local Area Network).

MIT and UCLA labs contributed a lot in the 60s and 70s to the development of the first “Packet Switching” model. The idea is the cut any data into “packets” that have the right properties to be sent independently, with eventually different routes, that can be buffered and queued depending on the traffic on the network.

The ancestor of the internet is the ARPANET, the first packet switching model. Other famous models were the X.25 and the UUCP.

But the number of gateways was still limited and the next step was to develop a super-framework of networks. It needed to be independent from the physical implementation of each network.

The Internet Protocol was born.

WEB 2.0

The web 2.0 is more a new way of using the internet than a real evolution of its core definition.

Basically the web 2.0 refers to an enhanced way to share information, collaborate, communicate and interoperate. Users become contributors of a website’s content.

It is often linked to the creation of social networks (MySpace, Facebook…), video sharing sites (YouTube), Wikis, Blogs. It is also the father of web based applications. It is the era of RSS (Really Simple Syndication), XML and Web API.

Web 2.0 is also a place where experts (Finextra) or non-experts (Forums) from different horizons can exchange and discuss around a wide range of topics.

WEB 3.0

The web 3.0 is also known as the “Semantic web”.

It includes several technologies in order to arrange and structure data you can find on the internet to make it available and usable by programs and software thanks to a metadata system.
The purpose is to make the web readable by machines and not only by humans.

It starts with the Resource Description Framework (RDF) which gives the specifications of such a metadata data model. It is also the Web Ontology Language (OWL) and notations like RDF Schema (RDFS).

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) are between the web 2.0 and the web 3.0. Many websites are already using this technology to display animated content. Flash animations are already taking advantage of this technology to deliver advanced animated content without the heavy weight of usual “movie files”.

Even if the definition of the web 3.0 is not achieved yet, everybody agrees on its properties. The web 3.0 will have to gather the following benefits:


  • Website or Web Solution
  • Mobile
  • Universal
  • Accessible


The core benefit is that anyone will have access to a huge amount of structured data using software. No need to dig in for hours on the web, on different websites to get valuable information. It will also provide (if well structured) to the “Deep web”. Most of the time, a Google search provides access to the “Surface web” (most common sites with a good Page Rank), but a lot of interesting information lies under the surface.

WEB 4.0

The web 4.0 is also known as the “Symbiotic Web”.

The idea being the symbiotic web is that once the metadata are organized (web 3.0), human and machines can interact in symbiosis. Meaning that we would be able to build more powerful interfaces like mind controlled interfaces for example.

But let’s be clear, the web 4.0 is still an underground idea in progress. There is no definition of it yet.

People also talk about ambient intelligence, webOS, artificial intelligence…

Not even mentioned on the world wide web consortium, I think we gonna have to wait a couple of years at least before seeing any web 3.0 and more for web 4.0. But it’s good to know that there are lots of projects going on in the web world.


Feel free to leave your comments and feedback on what you think it should be.



Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 June, 2009, 10:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

While Web 4.0 is still pretty far out, Web 3.0 is now getting nearer to practical deployments. A lot of research and standardisation is underway since quite some time, and now some products do emerge. What is still needed are practical deployments with a real business case behind.

While comparing novels and finding out which authors influenced which other authors may be quite interesting from an academic point of view, there could be a lot of business value in financial risk management and also in detecting new opportunities ...

A key benefit of semantic web technology is that it is *not* limited to structured data only. To the contrary, it can leverage all the unstructructured data coming from newswires etc. and can put that into relation with other known facts or data to derive new information or conclusions. So there may be some competition upcoming for human analysts ... 


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 June, 2009, 13:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Is web 5.0 where we get a web of trust?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 07 July, 2009, 14:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I believe Web 5.0 is "Rise of the Machines" although it may not happen because the Terminator is now Governor of California.

Cedric Pariente

Cedric Pariente

Stanford Certified Project Manager

EFFI Consultants

Member since

20 Dec 2008



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