Web is designed to be a more social creation and help people work together while promoting our web-like existence in the world as said by Tim Berners-Lee.
How it started? It all started by serving static HTML pages and users navigating from one site to another through links. Content was made available online and users were passive consumers of content.
With Web 2.0 or the Social Web, users started SHARING content which enabled deeper collaboration between people. The transformation from read-only to read-write took shape in this stage with an emphasis on user generated content. Blogs, Wikis, Tagging, Social bookmarking, Media sharing, Rich Content and Mashups are some of the trends of Web 2.0. Social networks like LinkedIn (professional graph), Facebook (social graph) and Twitter (interest graph) created a strong eco-system for online collaboration with friends, families, colleagues and people of interest to the user.
Location based services and recommendation services are an interesting phenomenon in the semantic age suggesting places of interest, things and events based on real time geo data, social and interest graphs. Whether Foursquare picks up “Suggestions for Friday evening”, LinkedIn recommends “Jobs you may be interested in”, Amazon says “Customers who bought this also bought”, all of these services are targeting personalization and relevance for the end user.
What can we expect from the next generation Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web? The focus here is shifting from human interaction to machine interaction. Machines will find, collect, analyze and act on data without human dependency. This requires creation of metadata for every web resource so that applications can exchange and interpret data from different sources and deliver meaningful results to the user. So if the user searches for “I would like to dine at a nice Thai place and later watch a comedy movie. What do you suggest?” the semantic web agent would search for possible answers and organize results for the user. With more advanced usage of the web, browsers learn more about likes and dislikes and can work as a personal agent. Not to ignore are many arguments and concerns in bringing out error free results, but with the advancement in technologies like the RDF, OWL,etc the next generation of the web will be more intelligent and knowledgeable.