What do Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 mean? Which one is better?


​In the blockchain world, you must have heard about “Web 2.0” and “Web 3.0” frequently.

But what do Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 mean? Which one is better?

For us to make any sense of what we mean by “Web 3.0”, we need to rewind to Web 1.0 and start there.

Web 1.0, in short, was the first “phase” of the web.

During this phase, web pages were static where the content was served from the server’s file-system. Moreover, there was no interactivity on these pages. You couldn’t “react” to posts with comments or likes. Instead, you just passively consumed information.

The web during this era looks very rudimentary. For example, developers used frames and tables used to position and align the elements on a page (because CSS did not exist!)


Web 1.0 lasted from the late 1980s until 2005.

The next "phase" of the Web was Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 is simply the web that we know today.

Instead of static content, the web became a place for dynamic content, one where users are now able to interact with content published on the web. This user interaction became possible because of the invention of technologies like JavaScript, HTML and CSS, which allowed developers to build apps where users can interact with content in real-time.

Be it social media, blogging, podcasting or social bookmarking — Web 2.0 is completely interaction-based. We engage through texts and comments, and we can easily attach and share content like images and music with other people. Some notable apps that flourished in Web 2.0: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and of course, Google. That is why this era of the web is also called the “Social Web”.

The next “phase” of the web is called Web 3.0.

Web 3.0 is a Semantic Web. This means that rather than just searching for content based on keywords or numbers, we can use AI to understand the semantics (i.e. meaning) of the content on the web. This would allow machines to understand and interpret information like humans (instead of like machines). The main purpose of the Semantic Web is to enable users to find, share and combine information more easily.

However, these days, the term “Web 3.0” has evolved to mean a lot more than just the Semantic web. More specifically, blockchain enthusiasts who are building Dapps use the term “Web 3.0” to describe the idea of building applications on an open and decentralized architecture.

So in summary….

The overarching goal of Web 3.0 is to make the internet a lot more intelligent, autonomous, and open.

How? With the use of techs like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, 3D Graphics, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality.

With AI, we can better understand and interpret the content on the web.

With blockchains, we can use it to build applications on decentralized protocols where we remove trusted intermediaries​ and gain public verifiability. This way we're not stuck in this paradigm where everything on the internet is “walled gardens.”

We can use cryptocurrency to completely transform the business model of applications that exist on the internet, instead of the ad-based model that we have today.

As Chris Dixon says, we took “a wrong turn” in the current social web by allowing for walled gardens and ad-based business models. The next version of the web will be built on open protocols and will have a built-in business model via crypto. If something feels off about the current version of the web, it’s not just you.

Beyond AI, blockchains, and crypto, Web 3.0 will use 3D graphics and technologies like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to make our experience of the web a lot more immersive: very much like the physical world, rather than the existing 2D-internet-world.

Overall, an interesting explanation of these phases is one given by Tim Berner-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web:

  1. Web 1.0 is the “readable” phase of the web. We see limited interaction between users.
  2. Web 2.0 is the “writable” phase of the web, one where users can interact with the site, and with each other.
  3. Web 3.0 is the “executable” phase of the web, and here, computers can interpret information like humans, to then generate personalized content for users.

Here’s a snapshot of the differences between Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0:

Difference between Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0 vs. Web 3.0

What's next?

Now that we know how transformational Web 3.0 will be, we can also realize the many challenges that lay ahead as we are starting to implement it.

We desperately need more engineers to come out and build the next version of the Web.

In the coming week, I will be sharing more information about my upcoming Ethereum bootcamp where I will be teaching developers how to build Dapps on Ethereum so that they can be part of the Web 3.0 revolution.

Till then, if you have any questions about Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0, reply to this email!

Sources: https://coinmarketcap.com/alexandria/article/what-is-web-3-0, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web, https://wittycookie.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/what-...

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Founder & CEO of TruStory. I have a passion for understanding things at a fundamental level and sharing it as clearly as possible.

Preethi Kasireddy