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The Semantic Web – Web 3.0

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Saturday July 28, 2007 )

Hold onto your hats – Web 3.0 is closing in, aka The Semantic Web…. The whosit web? What’s this all about?

Back in the days when I was training others in IT and basic web development in a classroom environment, I had a participant named “Div”, nicknamed so after the HTML tag. He was a pretty switched on sort of guy and well ahead of his time when it came to web technologies. He would constantly talk about The Semantic Web and how it would change the world. Often his evangelism would draw blank looks from the rest of us, so Div would be very pleased that the web he was trying to describe is on our doorstep. Bless you Div, wherever you are :).

So what is The Semantic Web?

The concept has been around for quite a long while – coined by the “father” of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. It’s a term you’re going to hear a lot more in the time ahead; probably more likely referred to as being Web 3.0.

Here’s an example of what the semantic web is about:

You want to go out to dinner, but you have no idea where to go and your car is in the shop. Using a software “agent” you issue a command for the agent to search for an restaurant serving Indian food within a 10 mile radius that has a table available on Wednesday evening at 6.30pm. But you don’t want just any restaurant, you want a restaurant that has a 4 star rating issued by a well known restaurant critic. Furthermore, you want the table booked and a cab to pick you up from your place. Additionally you want a call to be made to your phone once that’s all done; but you don’t want to be disturbed by the call as you’ll be in a meeting – just for the the reservation details added to your phone organizer.

The semantic web isn’t a “new” web. Much like Web 2.0 technologies, Web 3.0 (the semantic web) will integrate with what we have now. It will provide us with the the ability to automatically locate disconnected information and act on that information through a variety of devices.

While much of the information required for these sorts of functions is already on the web, it’s not standardized and requires a great deal of manual hunting and pecking, preventing automation. Some baby steps have already been made during the Web 2.0 revolution, for example, the use of tags in blogs and social networks.

In a nutshell:

“The Semantic Web will bring structure to the meaningful content of Web pages, creating an environment where software agents roaming from page to page can readily carry out sophisticated tasks for users”

There’s an incredible amount of money going into research at the moment to make the semantic web a reality, so it’s something we all need to keep tabs on somewhat – those who “get it” in online business and implement Web 3.0 technology as it becomes more available could do very well.

While still very much a realm for uber-geeks, a relatively easy to digest description of the concept is this 2001 article from Mr. Berners-Lee – well worth a read.


4 comments for The Semantic Web – Web 3.0
  1. Hey, great article. Web 3.0 seems to be closing the gap rapidly, and I can’t help but think of the iPhone as a precursor.

    Comment by Steve Pohler — July 29, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

  2. Hi Steve, I totally agree – the iPhone as it evolves is going to create some serious waves in this aspect.

    Sort of makes you wonder how we all survived pre-Internet and when our phones were as mobile as the length of the cord :). I still remember being totally blown away when a mate of mine in the ambulance service rocked up on my doorstep one day with a Motorola bag phone :).

    Comment by Michael Bloch — July 29, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

  3. Great article/post, looking forward to some of the benefits as a consumer! Any more info for the marketers?

    Comment by Aidan — August 15, 2007 @ 5:02 am

  4. Hi Aidan, I’ll try to get together a list of resources applicable to marketers about “Web 3.0” type issues – it’s certainly not an area of expertise for me, I’m still trying to get my head around what the web may look like and how it will operate 5 years from now :)

    Comment by Michael Bloch — August 17, 2007 @ 7:10 am

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