The Web 2.0 bubble

May 17, 2009 in Internet

Techcrunch disagrees with me, saying that "real time streams" are the future, and here to stay.

Maybe this is the latest bout of irrational exuberance that lets us break out of the Web 2.0 paradigm and start thinking intelligently about Web 3.0? It was a similar hubris about the power of static/read-only web sites and unsustainable business models which led to the end of the web's first consumer-driven iteration in 2001.

We have made such strides toward abstracting time from information - tag clouds, search engines and "taxonomies" (and even Tivo!) were all efforts to move away from simple chronological categorizations. The whole point was that you no longer had to make yourself available when relevant data was published; the data would be available at your convenience! And now Techcrunch is espousing a purely stream-based browsing experience? They go so far as to quote the following and agree with it:

"...its a flow of data that we can dip into at will but we can’t attempt to gain an all encompassing view of it."

So jump into the stream and let it carry you away. Or you can stand timidly on the banks until everyone else around you has already taken the plunge.

Does that sound like progress? The best we can hope for is mere cross sections of live data, not to mention the reams of static data which would not even be part of such a stream?

I'm calling the bubble right here. It will take some time to develop, expand, seem to take over our lives (and our wallets), but it will fade, ultimately, in favor of real data-sifting techniques. Remember how you knew 2000 was a bubble because anyone with a computer could start a company with no real profit? Sounds pretty familiar to me.

Web 3.0 may be "semantic", it may be "intelligent", it may even be sentient - but mostly it will be inspired by the need to organize, categorize, and make sense of the massive amount of data (and noise) that the Web 2.0 bubble is about to generate.

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