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The internet changed how we retrieve information forever. Who really needs a physical dictionary, a phone book, and a full set of encyclopedias anymore? Aren’t we supposed to be saving trees? We can thank the original “Web,” now referred to as Web1, for becoming an efficient place from which to retrieve all kinds of text and information, in our increasingly digital world. Web1’s triumph was information sharing and code creation: the basic “read” function and retrieval features we may take for granted on the internet today! Basic email servers, search engines like Yahoo! and Google, and MSN Messenger all ruled the wave of Web1.
Further development of these processes and coding brought us to Web2: beyond the retrieval of read-only information, towards participation through creating and sharing. We moved from reading Web1 to reading and writing Web2. Again, we’ve become accustomed to expecting more interactive apps and functions, like using social media, blogging, and gaming: more interactive experiences! Reaching further, Web2 opened the door for digital storage and editing “in the cloud,” like iCloud, Google Docs, or Dropbox. It stretches to the automation of real-world services, like Uber or AirBnB. Web2 has served as a hub for content creators, connecting, and streaming, and will largely continue to progress and do so.
Now we turn our attention to Web3, sometimes called the “semantic web.” This variant takes us beyond retrieving, sharing, and creating information to documenting the ownership of it. In Web3, ownership and verification of information are key! This is done by storing and transacting information on a blockchain, which is how cryptocurrencies (and NFTs) are transacted and recorded. These technologies are the basis of Web3!
The web certainly is evolving, and in many ways, will continue to do so. Though some may dub the development of Web3 as the “progression” of the web, that is not necessarily true. These words (progression and evolution) are often related, but are not one and the same. Progress is about the upgrading of levels, or advancement. This means the next level is better than the previous one, but the same concepts or goals are being built upon. We are already progressing in Web3: building technologies that are better than some that have come before. Instead, however, let’s consider how the web is evolving: in the case of Web3, becoming something fundamentally different than the web was before!
Evolution (in terms of science) is “the adaptation of an organism to live a better life in its habitat." Those organisms are US! Our habitat is our increasingly digital world. We are adapting to live a better life in this habitat, by using technology to create and record the ownership of digital information and assets. This includes, but is not limited to, money. The true meaning of Web3 revolves around the idea that on its networks, information cannot be altered, erased, or shut down by any single entity. Instead, Web3 users essentially own and govern the information on the Internet themselves, through a peer-to-peer network. This is done through a variety of decentralized applications (or, dApps), which run on blockchain technology.
That last part may sound complicated, but we’ll explore these concepts further… next!
blockchain: a shared digital record (ledger) of transactions of information, linked in a way that makes it nearly impossible to alter the transactions or harm the network, because they are maintained across a decentralized, peer-to-peer network of devices.
decentralized: when powers or authority are distributed so a network, or otherwise, is controlled by several entities, offices, or authorities instead of a single entity or source.
network: also called a computer network or data network, is a group of multiple computing devices linked together in a way that allows them to share and exchange data, information, and resources. A network may be connected physically (by cables and phone lines) or wirelessly (by radio waves, satellites, or beams of infrared light).
QUIZ - How did you do absorbing this information?
Read-only information on the web is an example of…
a. The internet
Which of the following is an example of Web1?
What version of the web is a hub for content creators, connecting, and streaming?
d. None of these
Which of the following is an example of Web2?
a. Email servers
b. Internet Explorer’s search engine
c. Blockchain technology
d. iCloud’s storage
Web3 is also known as…
a. The working web
b. The semantic web
c. The financial web
d. The networking web
Which of the following describes Web3?
a. the first wirelessly connected computing network
b. an efficient way to retrieve all different types of text and information
c. beyond exchanging and creating information to ownership of it
d. It opened the door for digital storage and editing
Describe the basic evolution from Web1 to Web3:
a. text, text-talk, text-talk-transfer
b. code, read-write, read-write-work
c. beginner, intermediate, advanced
d. read, read-write, read-write-own
Name an application that uses Web3 technology
a. Metamask: cryptocurrency wallet
b. Google Earth: satellite imagery
c. Uber: global positioning & payments
d. WhatsApp: instant messaging
How is ownership and verification of information proven in Web3?
a. Through combining all versions of the web together
b. By storing and transacting information on a blockchain
c. Using complex coding that is shared on social media
d. You actually can’t do that yet, but Web3 is being built!