Phases of Web/Internet Evolution

For the last 5+ years I’ve maintained an ongoing personal and professional interest in the so-called “Semantic Web”. Many have identified the Semantic Web as the “next big thing”, and it seems to perpetually hang just over the horizon, always 3-5 years down the road.

Recent chatter correlating the Semantic Web movement with “Web 3.0”, especially in the Buzz Out Loud podcasts from CNet, have inspired me to develop a basic comparison of the various generally-accepted phases of the Web/Internet’s evolution.

Future posts will contain further discussion of the Semantic Web, which (if anything) would likely be a component of the “next big thing” in our industry, rather than encompass it. Using “Semantic Web” and “Web 3.0” interchangeably would be similar to using “Social Network” or “blogging” as a synonym for “Web 2.0”.

In any case, along with a request for comments and/or additions, here is my comparison chart for “Dot-Com Boom”, “Web 2.0”, and “Semantic Web”. The chart excludes the “pre-Web/early-Web” days before widespread distribution and use of web browsers.

[Click for PDF]

These phases seem to be delineated by the US business cycle, but as there have only been two phases so far, we shouldn’t assume that Web 2.0 will suddenly end when the current/looming recession begins, nor that there will be another renaissance when the cycle turns upward again.

As for the Semantic Web… whichever new phase of Internet evolution to which it may end-up belonging (or not!) it will very likely only vaguely resemble the vision Tim Berners-Lee has outlined for it… just as the first dot-com era only vaguely resembled his vision for the World Wide Web.


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One Response to “Phases of Web/Internet Evolution”

  1. withappens Says:

    Test for comment feed.

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