We currently live in the era of Web 2.0, whereby we are able to edit and change Web pages, post reviews and actually affect the choices of other visitors and customers. Consumers have more power than ever before, and with the advent of social media and social networking sites, it is much easier for users to not only find each other, but also stay connected, making the internet a whole lot more transparent. It is also extremely easy to crate and share content such as articles, videos and much more. This is a far cry from the era of Web 1.0 where customers were merely spectators to a library of information.
The next generation of the internet is just around the corner, and it is vastly different to the world wide web of today. Semantic web, or Web 3.0 is the idea that the internet will one day become a personal assistant for each individual, with the ability to learn about an individual and suggest options for them based on the person’s interests and hobbies. For example, when choosing to go on a holiday, you have a budget, a fair idea of the type of place you want to go, a set amount of time and reasonably priced flights, hotels, and activities. Whereas with current technology there would be a lot of research involved via search engines, the future plans for web development show a multi-level search where the internet does the work for you. By narrowing the parameters of your search with a budget and other specifics, it will essentially choose well-planned options for you as opposed to long lists of information on search engines, many of which will not have any relevance.
But how? The specifics of Web 3.0 have not been finalised, as much of it is still an abstract concept. A few things are definite, however, such as the way information will be grouped. Collections called ontologies will be used, where topics will be grouped with familial relationships depending on the relevance of a certain subject to the main topic in question. Web Ontology language (OWL) has a high level of syntax and is an extremely dynamic and efficient programming language that will be used for Web 3.0.
However, we have a long way to go before realising the dream of an all-knowing, all-powerful form of internet that makes research almost unnecessary. Firstly, it may not be feasible in a practical sense of the word. For example, with current algorithms it will be relatively easy to fool Semantic Web engines, and computers may never be as capable of learning new concepts and expanding their parameters as the human brain. Another issue that can arise is that it is extremely time-consuming to create the data AND the relationships involved, and it is near impossible to cover every base, but it is definitely worth a shot.