Billions of people perform Google searches every day. Millions of businesses operate online and grow their customer base with unique marketing strategies. Search engine optimization is not a new term for web admins and eCommerce store owners. While Google ranking and online marketing are mainstream, the Internet did not work like that two decades ago. There is no denying that it has seen the biggest transformation over the past few years. 

The World Wide Web is the fastest-growing area that has enabled billions of people to find information and connect with people. Since its inception, the WWW has made great progress. The WWW has reached the third phase, called the web 3.0 version. 

In this post, we are going to walk you through the three versions of the World Wide Web. By the end of this article, you will know how the internet evolved from web 1.0 to web 3.0. Let’s start with the first version:

What is Web 1.0? 

Also known as Syntactic Web or Read-only Web, web 1.0 started in the 1990s and lasted a decade. The World Wide Web was launched at that time, so the uses of the internet were limited to people reading the content produced by the content creators and website owners. That was the time when the internet had only static websites. 

People could visit these websites and read the information provided by the creators, but that’s it! They could not interact with the content producers. Unlike today, only a few content creators would publish content on their websites. The website owners would either get the free hosting services or run their websites on the ISP-based servers.

Basically, it was the original or the first version of the internet, which got the name “web 1.0”. It was pretty simple. People could not use the internet to make money or gain fame by posting content online. That was not an option for content creators, although they could create or run a website on the internet. The search engines, which matter the most today, did not exist. There were no social media websites either. 

Even though web 1.0 is the simplest version of the internet, creating and running a website was the most challenging part for a content creator at that time. Put simply, web 1.0 was a bunch of websites. There were also chat boards where people from different backgrounds and interests gathered to connect.

What is Web 2.0?

Then came the Web 2.0 version. The focus was on modifying how websites are designed, supplying user-friendly content, and generating content for a large audience. The goal was to make content easily accessible to people and make it easier for the users to go online and connect with others. The second stage of the internet evolution involved the shift from static web pages to user-generated web pages. This was also the time when social media started gaining popularity. Facebook and YouTube became the biggest social networking sites to promote two-way interaction. 

The main purpose of this evolution was to allow people to communicate with others. The World Wide Web was no longer restricted to one-way communication where all people could do was read content posted by producers. Web 2.0 started in 2000 and continues. People remember this phase as a stage where any user could be the content creator. They could share content with other users or interact with whoever they wanted. 

Popular Apps 

The popular applications of the web 2.0 phase were Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube. These apps are still trending and used by a massive audience worldwide. However, each platform has been upgraded with new features that people could not have imagined a decade ago. 

For example, Facebook has turned into a business portal where a user can register their business for free, distribute content, share regular updates with their followers, and build a loyal audience. YouTube has become a vlogging platform where hundreds of thousands of videos are posted every hour. 

Running and Hosting a Website

The biggest transformation we saw in web 2.0 is the dynamic and user-generated websites. HTML 5, Javascript, ReactJs, and CSS3 are a few frameworks that brought many innovative changes in how websites are built. During the web 2.0 phase, platforms like WordPress and GoDaddy became popular options for people looking for cheap and high-quality hosting services. Anyone could build their website. 

The Downside

The major drawback of this transformation was that people had to rely on these companies and their servers. If the server goes down, you can no longer interact with your users, or your customers can’t load your website on the internet. It also meant that these hosting companies had full control over the type of content you could post on the website. They could even collect user data for displaying ads and selling services to customers. Facebook, for example, is an excellent social media app that connects billions of people worldwide. However, it also promotes misleading information, election conspiracies, and privacy issues

The web 3.0 version is designed to resolve these problems. Let’s see what the latest version of the World Wide Web is and how it has improved the internet experience for users and content creators.

What is Web 3.0?

Web 3.0 was developed to resolve the issues that were part of web 1.0 and web 2.0. It aims to make the World Wide Web a decentralized place that’s not only accessible to people worldwide but allows users to surf the internet anonymously. 

That’s what internet users need. Nobody wants websites and online software apps to collect their private information to sell ads. Instead, people want the internet that guarantees the highest level of anonymity and ensures a safe browsing experience. Web 3.0 is the future of the internet. It defines the era in which computers have the ability to offer a personalized experience to users with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Computers can understand and process tasks like humans. 

How does 3.0 Work?

Most of the web 3.0 version is based on blockchain technology, a decentralized system that promotes anonymous peer-to-peer connections. What makes it different from the other two web versions is that web 3.0 operates on a server-less network. 

The best example of this anonymous and server-less communication is the Mesh Messaging app used in Hong Kong. Since no centralized system facilitates communication, you can exchange texts without being under the government’s radar. There is no Wi-Fi, cellular network, or any centralized network involved. The goal is to create a network that could facilitate seamless communication between people without jeopardizing their privacy. 

This is possible for the online content as well. The internet can be decentralized, including all websites and blogs, allowing you to research information and read whatever you want while maintaining anonymity. 

Decentralized Network

Your computers hold data on your devices. Instead of using centralized servers for the websites and content, you can simply use the data stored on your devices. Experts are experimenting with this technology. If everything goes well, the whole World Wide Web can be used on the centralized network, eliminating the need for servers. People can’t wait to see peer-to-peer communication facilitated on the decentralized network. While the research is still going on, blockchain has made this decentralized system a reality. The technology powers cryptocurrencies and NFTs on a decentralized network, allowing people from all over the world to trade crypto coins, exchange money, and make investments without revealing their identity. People often associate NFTs and cryptocurrencies with online scamming. However, millions of transactions are processed successfully on these networks every year. In fact, it is better and safer than centralized networks, where security issues are common. 

NFTs enable people to purchase and sell digital goods, as it’s easier to prove the authenticity of the trade. The best part is that you no longer rely on third-party centralized systems to sell your digital products. For example, musicians don’t have to upload their songs on Spotify. They can use NFTs to sell their music to whoever they want. Safety is never a concern since the network supports anonymous login authentication. It respects your privacy and makes your experience safer than centralized networks.

The biggest project in web 3.0 is the Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) tools. The goal is to create an environment where people can interact with each other in real-time using augmented reality and virtual reality tools. VR has already been implemented by many companies. Take the example of virtual tours of real estate and online casinos. People no longer need to visit the house in person for evaluating the properties. They can book a virtual tour, in which the homeowner will walk them through the house virtually. The same concept is used by casinos. People can play their favorite slots and table games from the comfort of their homes. The live casino games offer a real-time gaming experience, which feels like you are sitting in front of the live dealer at the brick-and-mortar casino. 

How Does it Affect Us?

The AR/VR tools that were considered a sci-fi thing a few decades ago have now become a possibility with web 3.0. The main purpose of the third generation of the internet is to eliminate the middleman transactions and allow people to have safe, anonymous, and fast communication on a decentralized network. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of web 3.0.

  • Decentralization: The content creators no longer need permission from the government or authorities to post content on the internet. Plus, the user gets complete ownership control as they can now sell their work directly to the customers on a decentralized network.
  • Trustless: You don’t need anyone’s permission to participate in the interaction facilitated over a decentralized network. Besides, there is no role of an intermediary. Everything is processed on a decentralized system, allowing people to trade digital goods without requesting authorization from the government.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): We already see the role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in our daily lives. Companies like Amazon and Google have already used this technology to personalize users’ experiences. Businesses can leverage AI and machine learning tools to offer customized services to each customer, instead of targeted advertising that barely attracts people’s attention. 

The computers will have the ability to process and interpret data like humans. Even though these systems can’t make decisions like humans, they can learn from the data they are fed and improve. This can be done without human intervention. It is clear that web 3.0 will most likely be about artificial intelligence making computers smart and strong enough to process information.

The Semantic Web claims to make the world’s information available to the user in a better and more organized way than Google could ever do with its current search engine system. The main purpose of the semantic web (web 3.0) is to improve the search engine’s ability to understand the user’s queries, instead of producing results based on keywords and phrases. The focus is now more on the user’s experience, instead of the company or community. It also improves communication for customers, since web 3.0 is all about live streaming services with AR and VR tools. With that said, social media, blogging, podcasting, and social bookmarking will still be used. However, the focus will shift from the centralized networks hosting this data to the decentralized systems. 

Conclusion

The WWW has evolved drastically in two decades. From web 1.0 that doesn’t offer you any control over the internet to web 3.0 focusing on the user’s experience, the internet has seen the biggest transformation. Even though people have not embraced blockchain and NFTs completely, it’s only a matter of time before the technology will make its way to the apps and browsers.

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