In 2007, we’ll be seeing how Web 2.0 matures from a trendy buzzword into the realm of web standards. With the 2.0 technology and interaction, the idea of ‘community’ won’t be limited to a few oddball sites but will rather become an integral part of many mainstream sites.
You can already see this happening with the array of social bookmarking and media sharing links. What began as an oddity of icons encountered on the rare blog or two, is now becoming a standard one-click sharing device on such venerable sites as the New York Times. It’s a global community out there!
So with the maturing of Web 2.0 a given, the obvious question is what’s next? If I knew, trust me I’d be buying stock in the next killer app right now. But indications seem to be pointing towards a connection of data in a more intelligent manner, making it more relevant to the user.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of data out there that in theory is searchable but not always connectable without spending a lot of time pouring over the results. And who has time for that. So we usually end up taking the first few results and running with that, but it doesn’t always work out.
So, what if we had a system that could rank and weigh people’s comments (which are fast becoming a standard feature thanks to Web 2.0) and, by cognitive deduction, find just the right result for that user. That is, our system would mine the data in the Web to detect relationships between the information that’s out there. Once established, it would be easier to extract and aggregate information tailored to fit the user.
Pie in the sky? Well the folks at the University of Washington don’t think so. Check out what they’re doing with their KnowItAll and Opine systems. Play around with their demos and think of how this would change your interaction with, say, a travel site if the system could provide a useful and meaningful result by distinguishing between concepts such "great" and "almost great".
"The system will know that spotless is better than clean," said Oren Etzioni, an artificial-intelligence researcher at the University of Washington who is a leader of the project. ‘"There is the growing realization that text on the Web is a tremendous resource."
And so in the next few years, we just might see this definition:
Web 3.0 – a web of connected data; i.e., moving from a web of connected documents/sites to a web of connected data.