What’s the Difference between Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0?

The web as we know has come a long way since it first graced our screens 👩‍💻. Now, we have access to all kinds of stuff, including social networks, blockchain technology, dynamic content, and social media platforms on our mobile devices.  It’s all thanks to the difference between web 1.0, web 2.0, and web 3.0.

Wondering what the heck that means 🤔? Let’s take a look at the difference between web 1.0, web 2.0, and web 3.0 and how the progression has shaped the internet as we know it 🤩. 

What Is Web 1.0?

Web 1.0 was the grandparent 👨‍🦳 of the internet! It was around from about 1991 to 2004. This early version of the internet was essentially a content delivery network (CDN) that allowed websites to present information.

In Web 1.0, the vast majority of users were content consumers, and there were very few content creators. Lots of content creation was in the form of personal websites, which mostly included static pages maintained on free web hosts or web servers controlled by ISPs (internet service protocols). The central authority network had directories that enabled users to retrieve a particular piece of information, and users were charged for each page they looked at 🕵️.

Sure, the first generation of internet services may sound archaic, but there were a lot of nice things about the first iteration of the web. Web 1.0 forbade the viewing of ads while browsing websites. Ofoto, an online digital photography website from Web 1.0, allowed users to store, share, view, and print digital images in the shadow of what would become cloud storage.

Web 1.0 Features:

  • Static web pages
  • Using the server’s file system to store content
  • Creating pages with the Common Gateway Interface or Server Side Includes (CGI).
  • Positioning and aligning items on a page using frames and tables.

What Is Web 2.0?

As you might have guessed 🤷‍♀️, next up is web 2.0. Darcy DiNucci, a web designer, came up with the term in 1999, and internet business owners Dale Dougherty and Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty held the Web 2.0 Summit in 2004. 

Internet 2.0 is where the social aspect of the internet business model really took off. It allowed communication and participation between people and ushered in 21st-century social media. A focus 🧐 on AJAX programming, tagging, and other front-end user experiences meant the layout and functionality of web pages also changed a lot between web 1.0 and web 2.0, and AJAX and JavaScript frameworks formed part of the new and improved web browser technologies.

Web 2.0 Features:

  • Users can retrieve and categorize information collectively thanks to free sorting
  • Dynamic information that reacts to user input
  • Information exchange between site owners and users via comments 

Web 2.0 Applications

During the web 2.0 era, the social web centralized platforms had a number of online resources and communities. Within these early social networking sites and other communities, users could exchange opinions 🗣, ideas 🧠, and other information. These more advanced technologies used in web 2.0 applications were a lot more engaging than their predecessors, and as a result, there was a lot more participation.

These familiar internet staples became popular in the digital realm during this era:

  1. Podcasting 🎙
  2. Blogging
  3. Tagging
  4. Curating with RSS (really simple syndication)
  5. Social bookmarking
  6. Social networking
  7. Social media 👨‍💻
  8. Web content voting

What Is Web 3.0?

You might have noticed there was no end date 📅 for web 2.0. Well, that’s because we’re currently somewhere between web 2.0 and web 3.0. Web 3.0, also known as the Semantic Web, isn’t yet fully realized; it’s the internet of the future!

After a long period of concentrating 🤓 on the front end, there’s now a focus on upgrading the back end of the web. Through web 3.0, the internet is being transformed into a database using distributed ledger technology (like a blockchain network).

Right now, web 3.0 basically refers to a number of web users and interaction evolutions we’re currently working on. A huge part of this is decentralized applications or the concept of no central authority. Google, a central authority, will never be able to establish “the world’s information” with its current engine schema in this way, but web 3.0 promises to do so.

Another key component of web 3.0 is machine learning 🤖. In this new digital world, computers can use domain-specific concepts called ontologies to analyze data and draw new conclusions rather than just match keywords. Pretty neat, huh?

The Evolution of the Internet

As we’re all well aware, the internet has come a long way since the ’90s! Web 1.0 started us off strong 💪, web 2.0 added in social interaction, and web 3.0? We’re still figuring that out, but so far, it’s given us AI, cryptocurrency, and decentralized applications. It looks like the internet is set to change our world all over again.

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