Thursday, September 24, 2009
Web 2.0 versus Web 3.0! Which is real and has more long-term value?
Recently, someone forwarded me this interesting video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oalBUgzKaLw&hl . This video argues whether social media or web 2.0 to some is fad or not. In my opinion, this video is powerful! Social media is a great concept and it works - it is exploited very cleverly by early adapters. But there is not much you can do from enterpreneurship or innovation perspective. I see that there are three categories: 1) Facebook, Linkedin, myspace, youtube, wikipedia etc. etc.. - Basically user-generated- content! The game is pretty much limited as there is opportunity for very few players here. All these companies are real and are going to stay for long. The only way to make money here is through advertising. 2) Software companies who are making wikis, blogs and other interesting ways to collaborate etc. - Sharepoint will be a good example. This is very horizontal in nature. The focus is productivity. There is not much scope for innovation here also and it is very saturated market. In the end, it is all about configuration, governance and best practices. 3) Wikinomics examples - Top companies are inviting people/customers/clients to give design/product ideas etc.. e.g Nissan or P&G inviting their loyal customers for new ideas. In the end social media is not about software but the power to attract a certain segment who has common interests and are interested in contributing content. Number 1 category is the only one where you might see some limited innovation in a verticalized domain. This is the only category where very few will ever make any money using advertisement. Social media is really about people to people. Tim Berners Lee, the father of web, goes on to say that "if Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the web was supposed to be all along." There is just no new technology here! The viedo, mentioned above, doesn't talk about the business value of TV and radio aagainst social media. When TV and radio were invented, there were two kinds of people who benefitted tremendously: a) Those who designed/manufactured and sold them. b)The people who created content/channels/programs - this is endless cycle as you always need to create a new content and a vast industry mushroomed around it. Social Media is all about user-generated content but people who create content gain not much monetarily. Whereas, In case of TV and radio, people who created content benefitted tremendously. So Where does this leave Semantic Web or Web 3.0 called by many? The key concepts have been explained in earlier blogs and I will continue to do in future blogs. But Web 3.0 is really a data web or executable web. It is about reassembly of data and reorganization of data pieces. It can help in solving problems from drug discovery to national security. Even a semantic wiki has alot to offer than a regular wiki. We are going to see unprecedented level of innovation in this space.