Web 3.0 – What to Expect From the Internet’s Awesome New Chapter

Discover Why Web 3.0 Will be More Than Just a Number

Web 3.0, the next major iteration of the internet, is on the way. 

And whilst its exact nature is still up for debate, it’s agreed that Web 3.0 will be driven by artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These will offer search results powered by an understanding of query context rather than the current reliance on keywords.

Another big change will be a move to a decentralised web in which our data is held not by large entities like say Google and Facebook, but rather via public storage systems – blockchains.

These digital ledgers store data chronologically (hence a chain of blocks), document any changes and boast enhanced security measures that help protect data from misuse.

Smarter. More connected. And more immersive.

On the cards then will be a smarter, more connected and immersive internet – one fixated on the provision of ever-more personalised and relevant responses to search.

Prepare For Changes. And Some Challenges

A fundamental shift is therefore incoming. Decentralisation will switch control of data from corporations to individuals. AI-powered searching will foster accuracy and save time. And robust connectivity will be tough enough to handle a swelling Internet of Things. In short, Web 3.0 will change the way enterprises and consumers interact and search, locate and share information, and buy goods and services.

So in this Hookson blog we’ll look at which features are likely to characterise Web 3.0.

We’ll examine also the benefits these will bring to businesses and organisations operating online. Lastly, we’ll examine some key challenges that Web 3.0, amid its many benefits, could present.

Browsing History

Let’s begin though with a quick look at what defined Webs 1.0 and 2.0.

Web 1.0: the Read-Only Web – Passive Consumption

What became known as Web 1.0 emerged at the tail-end of the 80s.

This formative entity though had little to do with the social and commercial applications that today are nutshelling the internet.

Instead, this first iteration grew out from the scientific community. Required by this cohort was a way of more efficiently sharing data and information. Web 1.0 achieved this. But because user interaction, beyond reading Web 1.0’s static pages, wasn’t on the table, Tim Berners-Lee dubbed Web 1.0 the read-only web.

But that would change with…

…Web 2.0: the Read-Write Web – Interaction Establishes

In an early 1999 tech article ‘Fragmented Future’, information architect Darcy DiNucci coined the term Web 2.0.

It was an acknowledgement that user interaction, rather than passive user consumption, would soon engulf and define what we would regard as the internet.

An Accurate Appraisal

DiNucci’s piece was certainly forward-looking. And the evolution she wrote of turned out to be highly accurate too. She wrote of a near-future web. This would be interactive and engaging. It would present on consumers’ computer screens – of course – but also on cellphones and TV sets, games machines and vehicle dashboards.

It sounds rather like a prediction of the Internet of Things – a reality tailor-made for the power of Web 3.0. But more about that later.

So, the key points of difference that Web 2.0 imposed over its predecessor would include the two-way flow of information we now enjoy. Plus the interaction that drives so much of how we engage today.

These manifest in areas like e-commerce and content creation, social media and online gaming – none of which could have ever occurred within Web 1.0.

A New Dimension

Thrilling 3D technologies will impact sectors as diverse as entertainment and tourism, medicine and museums

Save the Data

Across Web 3.0, users’ data belongs to users - and so do access permissions

Web 3.0: the Read-Write-Interact Web – What Might it Look Like?

And now, let’s go back to the future. Although very much a work in progress, the next season of the internet is rapidly taking shape.

So let’s look at what might define Web 3.0 and make it distinct.

Web 3.0: the New Kid on the Blockchain

At the heart of Web 3.0 will be blockchain technologies. These will act as the decentralised foundation for everything users will do online.  Indeed, it was Gavin Wood, a co-founder of the blockchain Ethereum, who coined the term in 2014.

Blockchain? It’s a word popping up more and more frequently. IBM defines a blockchain as:

A shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network.

In simpler terms, it’s a digital ledger used for storing encrypted blocks of digital data and assets.

Assets? These could be a house, car, cash, land. They could also intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding. Virtually anything  – tangible or otherwise – is trackable and tradable on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs.

IBM expands on why blockchain is important:

  1. Business runs on information. The faster it’s received and the more accurate it is, the better
  2. Blockchain immediately delivers, shares and stores that information via a transparent and immutable ledger
  3. Only permissioned network members can access the ledger
  4. A blockchain network can track orders, payments, accounts, production and much more
  5. Members share a single view of the truth, and see all transaction details end to end
  6. This gives greater confidence, as well as new efficiencies and opportunities

In summary, big tech networks won’t be controlling Web 3.0 servers – instead, Web 3.0 will exist on a vast network of computers. That makes for an always-on web characterised by linked blocks of data.

The result? – a chronological record that third parties can’t modify. Cue greater security and transparency.

The Semantic Web Arrives

The move to a semantic web will be a key component of Web 3.0.

Semantic web? Another Tim Berners-Lee moniker, this time from 1999.

In broad terms, the semantic web focuses on the meaning of data as opposed to its form. The semantic web will extend and enhance the current internet experience by making data and information – far beyond statistics and keywords – readable by machines. This will enable deeper analysis of searches.

By example, searching for a very complex topic on a Web 3.0 platform will see the semantic web analysing many pages to present users with the very best and most relevant search result.

To an extent, the semantic web already weaves among us via virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa – both innovations that respond to semantics via use of AI.

Web 3.0 will deliver an internet that’s easier to use, supports personalisation and ramps up UX. Great news for users - and businesses.

Better Personalisation

Connected to the above, Web 3.0 will deliver a more personalised browsing experience. Websites and apps will begin recognising our preferences and habits, and consequently offer an ever-better fit for both our devices and locations.

Your Web 3.0 Data – Owned By You

In the Web 2.0 world, tech companies – the likes of Google and Meta – control user-generated data. We surrender our data to apps and products like Instagram and TikTok, Facebook and Twitter.

The use of this data by these giants is what’s powering Web 2.0. But this will likely change as Web 3.0 establishes. There, in an environment where ever-more personal data exists on those blockchains we described, control shifts to users who’ll make their own decisions about data sharing and usage.

The opportunity will be there to monetize our data as opposed to the current norm of allowing enterprises to collect if free of charge. Related to this, businesses may offer discounts or perks based on how much, or how little, of our data we wish to share with them.

E-commerce – Streamlined and Simplified

Also on the run could be the flabby middle that currently exists between online B2B and B2C transactions. With transacting happening on blockchains there will be fewer intermediaries – banks, say – required to facilitate e-commerce (and charge a fee for doing so). Optimistically, this could see savings passed on to consumers.

Web 3.0 Will be Web 3D

Web 3.0’s use of 3D graphics will have positive implications for a host of sectors. It’s easy to envisage how 3D could soon be disrupting the likes of travel, tourism, sport and entertainment. But away from leisure, think about its impact on education, training and medical care.

Web 3.0: Built for the Metaverse

Connected with the expected rise in 3D applications, the hotly anticipated metaverse will be one that may define Web 3.0. The metaverse of course hasn’t arrived yet, not for the average business or consumer. But defining it will be immersive experiences: the likes of 3D applications and also Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.

Looking Ahead to the Metaverse

Across Web 3.0, the metaverse could manifest, for example, in the routine wearing of hardware that seeks to locate us 24/7 in a virtual landscape.

Or it could more subtly blend the physical and digital worlds, overlaying the physical space with the digital. That would change forever how we interact with products and services – and even one another.

The AI-powered ChatGPT app will almost certainly play a big role in defining and developing the metaverse. As Hookson noted in our blog on the tool, app developers are already harnessing ChatGPT technology. Moving this on, that GPT tech could make virtual environments ever more immersive, interactive and attractive.

For sure, the metaverse will be a fundamental component of Web 3.0. And it may form so much a part of our online landscape that it actually becomes Web 3.0 entirely. 

The very real rise of the robots

Web 3.0: Ready for the Internet of Things

Although it contains only eight letters, ubiquity is a big Web 3.0 word. It nutshells the expectation that the Web 3.0 experience will be accessible everywhere and at all times. A true 24/7 entity.

It might feel like we’re there already – after all, the smartphone = the web. And the smartphone is everywhere.

But Web 3.0 will embrace the Internet of Things (IoT)  – the rising number of sensor-led entities, tools and gadgets connected to and communicating with computing systems.

The fact is, IoT is already rapidly disrupting our lives.

How? Think of a smart thermostat. Or what about a fitness tracker? Got a smart meter? Or a voice assistant like Alexa or Siri? And that’s not to mention the numerous applications across sectors like medicine and manufacturing, travel and transport.

As IoT grows and grows, Web 3.0 will be robust and expansive enough to grow with it.

Web 3.0: What’s in Store for Businesses?

Web 3.0 will deliver an internet that’s easier to use, supports increasing personalisation and ramps up UX. That’s great news for average users of course, and also for businesses:

Precise Promotions AI systems will deliver improved analysis of the data driving ads. That will result in precise targeting. Messages will be more relevant and personalised, increasing conversions and reducing wastage, impacting reach and boosting brand awareness.

So for marketers and advertisers, Web 3.0 may enable promotional budgets to work harder.

A New Reality For E-Commerce Web 3.0’s ability to roll out, in a big way, Augmented Reality, spells an exciting shift for online shoppers. Immersive shopping will take in sophisticated product demos, for example. Virtual showrooms. The trying-on of say sunglasses. Or the application of cosmetics.

This promises a thrilling, personalised future – and increased sales.

Cryptocurrency? That’ll Do Nicely Bolstered by the security inherent in blockchains, adoption and use of cryptocurrencies stands to rise. Confidence in these digital tokens offers a new way for transaction payments. And with traditional intermediaries removed from the equation, so too are their transaction fees.

Smart businesses should be gearing up, therefore, to accept payment in crypto.

Super-Secured Transacting If payments across Web 3.0 are based on cryptocurrencies across the blockchain, there’s no need to transmit personal data. That makes for more secure transactions.

Additionally, blockchains offer encryption and a decentralised structure which means hackers can’t benefit from the presence of a single point of failure to exploit.

Opportunities to Earn For content creators, opportunities to earn will increase. This will be thanks to more autonomy and less reliance on third parties. Many digital artists are ahead of the curve here, monetizing their works as Non-Fungible Tokens – a concept we covered across this Hookson blog.

Similarly, app creators’ decentralised apps (dApps) will function not on commission-hungry platforms like Google Play or the App Store, but instead on blockchains and/or peer-to-peer networks.

Down With Downtime Few things harm e-commerce more than non-availability. But with data distributed across a secure network of thousands of computers, downtime could become this weird myth that future generations scarcely believe existed.

More Time For Customers Web 3.0 looks set to rocket-fuel customer support and UX. For online businesses, increasingly sophisticated chatbots will be solving problems and responding to complex queries. Virtual assistants meanwhile will attend to repetitive-but-essential tasks.

Combined, these advances will reduce costs and increase productivity. AI automation will also free up time for staff to concentrate on other areas – sales, for example, and face-to-face experiences – in fact any manner of softer skills best left to humans.

The expectation is of digital products and experiences accessible everywhere and at all times. A true 24/7 digital world.

But Every Revolution Brings Risk. And Web 3.0 Will be no Exception

It’s easy to envisage a thrilling Web 3.0 future: a place where we ramp up what we already enjoy online. And it’s a snap too to get excited over all of those incoming innovations developers are constructing right now.

But the future is also a scary and unpredictable place. So let’s bravely touch upon the challenges Web 3.0 might bring.

(Mis)Information (in)Authenticity

As we’ve seen, Web 3.0’s decentralised structure will likely remove the power currently wielded by server owners.

Right now, user accounts can be blocked by organisations who might cite a policy breach, or simply do not agree with content a user has generated. Instead, decentralisation sees individuals owning nodes – a computer, for example – each connected across a network, and contributing to a database shared among thousands of fellow computers.

Big Tech will therefore be unable to banish content and accounts so easily. But the consequent challenges will exist around checking information accuracy, maintaining security and preventing data manipulation.

New Web. New Cyber Attacks

Those with bad intentions are expert at spotting the opportunities new developments bring. It’s therefore wise to assume that cyber criminals are already plotting how best to take advantage of the emerging Web 3.0.

Danger to Data?

As we’ve touched upon, Web 3.0 users will have far more say regarding use, by Big Tech, of their own data. But one risk of Web 3.0’s decentralised structure – huge and connected – could be easier access to this data. Blockchain technology records transaction publicly, so it’s potentially less difficult to access users’ personal and public information.

Web 3.0, Planet 0?

All tech activity leaves a carbon footprint. And Web 3.0, with its reliance on data mining, is energy-hungry. Online advances won’t cease – so the focus will have to be on reducing the environmental impact of Web 3.0 activities.

We’re Excited About the New Opportunities

Right now, Web 3.0 is a bit of a construction site. But it’s on the way. And it’s going to be exciting. It will add value to the online space, and make a difference to consumers’ everyday lives.

So, to say the least, it’ll be essential to keep tabs on Web 3.0 as its foundations, innovations and ideas continue forming.

At Hookson we’re looking forward to the new opportunities Web 3.0 will bring across search and sales. Customer connections and conversions. Enhanced UX. Plus savings on time and efficiency.

If you’re excited too, why not get in touch to discover how we can work with your organisation.