“Web3 is the third generation of the internet where websites and webapps will interact with humans in a semantic manner through technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Big Data all within a decentralized blockchain”
Before we can truly understand what’s next in the development of the internet, and yes Web3 is alive and kicking and in the early stages of development, we need to understand Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.
Web 1.0 (1990-2005)
This was the start of the World Wide Web. The WWW was invented by Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN university in Geneva. You can read more about why he did this on the Web Foundation website currently on Web 2.0. By October 1990 he had formed the elements required to create such a phenomena. They were as follows:
- HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language
- URI – Uniform Resource Identifier – An address to find the content
- HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol – Enabling linking between different addresses
Whilst the very first web page is no longer available (this wont happen with Web 3.0 as you will find out later), but maybe the second or very close second is this page the project which is still accessible. This shows a white background, black text, and links. A purely static web page made from HTML. You can see from this page it is a static web page, the only user interactive was the hyperlink text to jump to another page. Now this page was stored on a server and was commonly referred to as the Information Highway. This highlighted the fact that users were sent along a defined highway to the content making the WWW a centralized network.
Web 1.0 was static with very little interaction from the viewer and was essentially a static library of content searchable by keywords just as you would search an Microsoft Access database (for those that can remember that).
Searching Web 1.0
Since the launch of the WWW it became apparent very quickly as more and more content was published on the WWW, that finding the information you wanted was getting increasingly difficult. To help this directories were made as you would find in a library. That soon became unmanageable and search engines started to appear that would search those directories. There was no search engine up until the summer of 1993, all the specialized directories were maintained by hand. The first known ‘web crawler’ i.e. crawling the web and indexing the web pages and content was called ‘JumpStation’ and was created in December 1993 by Jonathan Fletcher. It crawled, indexed and searched the WWW. It was limited though as it could only identify the Title and Headings in the content. WebCrawler was the first search engine to crawl the content, and this remains the method used today. The first most used Search Engine to use this method was Yahoo! Search.
So searching the WWW was now available in January 1994, 4 years after the WWW started. But it used keywords entered by the searcher to find what they were looking for.
I started building web pages within 2 months of the release of the HTML tags from Tim Bernars-Lee. You can see the list of HTML tags from Tim here. In the very beginning there were no image tags so it was a plain background and text with hypertext links. In essence it was a word processor. Before the introduction of the Image tag my comment was ‘This will never catch on!!!!’
Once the img tag was created then you could add images albeit they were stacked on top of the text and just flowed down the page, you could not position images and text. Now this was a game changer as now albeit static company’s could display their company brochures on the WWW and that was that. One of my early websites was aircraftworld.com (if that had been on Web 3.0 I would still own the domain name, but you will read about that later in this article), it was one of the specialized directories mentioned above and listed all the aviation websites, however manually adding and updating the directory was extremely time consuming.
Web 2.0 (2005-Present Day)
Web 2.0 describes the current status of the internet and is a shift in how the WWW is used. Web 1.0 was used to view content and Web 2.0 is used to engage and provide content. Users are now connected to each through social apps such as Facebook and Twitter producing vast amounts of content. The term Web 2.0 was first coined in 1999 when users were encouraged to publish articles and content such as this article. In addition users were given user accounts so they could have better tools for creating and managing their content. Technologies such as WordPress and Social Media are big influences on Web 2.0.
Web3 The Next Generation
The Next Generation of the web is currently being built on multiple blockchains. This is the same technology that powers Cryptocurrencies, NFT’s, smart contracts, DeFi to name a few.
The web will no longer be hosted on servers it will be hosted on a blockchain. IPFS (Inter Planetary Filing System) for example is a decentralized database of websites, amongst other things. It operates on the Ethereum blockchain. Now that’s worth watching Ethereum in the future!
Websites and WebApps on Web3 dont have a location like a server (ie an ip address like in Web 2.0). The content is distributed over a Peer-To-Peer network.
So how does it work?
To access content on Web 2.0 you would enter a URL like internetmonkeez.com into your browser. The Domain Name Server that indexes that domain name then matches the IP Address, the address of where the website is located and then serves up the content to the browser you are using.
To access content on Web3, specifically IPFS, you dont add a URL you add a CID or a Content Identifier. This CID pulls all the distributed content together from around the blockchain. The CID is what tags all your content together.
There are currently two web browsers that support Web 3.0 and they are Opera and the amazing Brave browser. All the other major browsers have plugins at this stage that enable Web 3.0 viewing.
Is that enough?
If you would like to dig a bit deeper then carry on reading, but if this is enough to scramble your brain then start learning more about Web3.