Next generation internet – what could it be like?

Today, I stumbled upon a very precise vision of Web 3.0 by accident. Although the definition is already 3 years old, it still seems to be a very short and precise description of what the next evolutiuonary step of the

internet might be/already is.

On her personal blog, Sramana Mitra, entrepreneur, strategy consultant and book author, explains, what she thinks, the next big thing might look like.
As we’ve seen 3Cs already (Content, Commerce and Community), Web 3.0 will be adding a fourth C to web applications: Context.

At first glance, that doesn’t seem to be a big secret, as there’s a lot of talking about “semantic web” and ontologies going on for years. The real eye opener is, in my opinion, that Sramana gives real world examples for using contexts(actually generated by some spooky annotations or coming from some datamining application).

And the perfect use case is recommendations. Not only recommendations like “users who bought this, bought that too“. No question: recommendations work really good that way – but if a recommendation engine would be able to consider more than user behaviour on just one particular site, it could show you lots of stuff you might like.

That’s where context comes into play. Imagine a recommendation engine, knowing your likes in fashion, music and literature. It could give you a hint, that there’s the fashion week in Paris, where your beloved stardesigner shows his newest creations, accompanied by one of your favorite bands. Oh, and fortunately, there’s also a reading by that highly underrated french author in the same week.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But, and now for the other side of the coin, did you ever worry about privacy? A recommendation engine knowing that much would literally know your whole life.

Keeping all that in mind, let’s take a look at facebook’s recent approach to the open graph protocol. Currently, facebook knows, what’s going on on facebook. That’s a lot, but there’s more out there. With open graph, every webmaster is able to put a “like” button onto his website. There are also tags to describe, what kind of thing this website is about. (movie, city, musician, …)

The result of this approach could be exactly, what Sramana Mitra predicted 3 years ago. It’s not sure, wether open graph protocol will be accepted by the webcommunity, or not. It definitely has a lot to offer. But the privacy issues have to be kept in mind, now more than ever.

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