Currently, we use Web2 to cover our daily needs: searching, messaging, and browsing. Since the Internet launch in 1986, we can clearly spot a pattern – it takes at least a decade for the Web to jump on a new, broader level and make the Internet a better place for all of us.
Let's take a closer look at the evolution of the Word Wide Web before diving into further Web3-related details.
What is Web1?
In the early days of the Internet, its very first version was called Web 1.0. It was created mainly for companies rather than to be used by individuals. Only a few people knew how to operate and use the Internet back then. Most large corporations hired computer experts to operate the internet and implement its use across the company for the employees’ use.
Before the deployment of Web1, individuals for the sake of news or favorite programs gathered on TV and radio according to a schedule.
Content creators were few and far between in the first version, while content viewers were many. This version would likely be considered barbaric by the new generation who are now acquainted with the widespread and easy-to-use internet we know today. Back then, advertisements on sites were banned, most pages were created through HTML, and only information could be encoded.
With the advent of Web1 and with advent of websites, content that used to be delivered on a scheduled basis on radio and TV is available at any time from any computer connected to the Internet.
The internet was also expensive back in the day because it cost the user according to the number of pages they viewed. For this reason, devices like computers and the internet were scarce in homes because not everyone could afford them.
By the end of the 1990s, the popularity of Internet companies and inflated expectations from the new post-industrial economy led to an investment boom. People willingly invested in "dot-coms" - companies with businesses based on the Internet. Such companies often sought to scale faster at the expense of investors' funds and often did not turn a profit at all. In such a mode, investors' funds were quickly wiped out, companies were liquidated, and investors were disappointed.
In 2000, the “collapse of the dot-coms” began: many Internet companies went bankrupt, and the rest divided business niches among themselves and became modern web giants. The industry was about to change, but the transition to new technologies was only part of that change. At the same time, the main innovations of the next era were not technologies, but new and fresh approaches to using technology.
💡 Web1 lasted from 1989 to 2005.
What is Web2?
2005 was a huge year with the appearance of Web2 — this was a major step up, as the vision and usage of the Internet were changed forever. What exactly made the Internet more widespread and used worldwide in the Web2 era?
- A fast and convenient way to absorb any relevant information for every individual
- User-to-user interaction via new social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.
- Content creation, blogging, and the appearance of trusted KOLs distributed in many fields
- The Internet became less expensive and adopted by the masses
The mobile revolution of the early 2000s gave us pocket computers capable of recording and publishing content. There are websites designed to view content on mobile devices. The lack of desktop connection with a home PC, along with location sensors in smartphones, has opened up a niche for geolocation services. Mobile applications and platforms for their distribution have emerged.
In Web2 content, consumers are also content creators.
Compared to the previous era, the network has also become more centralized. The web giants of this period like Google, Facebook, and Amazon control cloud services, large computing centers, and data on millions of users.
In case Amazon's servers go down, businesses around the world will suffer. A good example was the blocking of the Telegram service in Russia. Because of this, 800,000 Amazon IP addresses were closed in the country.
Facebook's control over the personal data of hundreds of millions of users has led to major leaks such as the Cambridge Analytica incident in 2018.
💡 Interesting fact: the era of Web2 has been going on since the mid-2000s, but ideas about the next stage in the development of the network - Web3 - were formed in the first ten years of the existence of the World Wide Web.
What is Web3?
Web3 is the future of WWW. After 2.0. The third stage of the Internet will join the game being powered mostly by Artificial Intelligence and other approaches of smart computer apps.
Web3 aims to be operational and powered by AI.
It strives to create a dutiful and data-driven interface and cater to every individual who uses the platform. It is achieved due to the usage of:
- Blockchain technology
- 3D graphics
- Semantic Web.
If you use the Internet on a daily basis (and you probably do), you might be well aware that the things mentioned above have already been partly implemented and deployed to the current version of Web2. More and more businesses and platforms deploy new Web3 solutions into their models. Currently, we can see the first attempts to use Blockchain technologies across different mainstream applications and sites like Paypal, Microsoft, Amazon, etc — all of these venues have already built the Web3 tool kits.
💡 Web3 should not be understood solely as an information technology term. The development of new ways of interacting online also requires people to make social and cultural changes. This can be compared to how the social aspects of the interaction between people changed in the 2000s, when mass access to the Internet and social networks spread to most of the globe, finally destroying the boundaries of ownership and containment of information.
Even though no one is able to predict whether Web3 will be deployed anytime soon (and if the people are ready), we are sure that a new era is approaching.
Without any doubt, Blockchain and therefore, cryptocurrencies have been the main drivers of the recent spike in interest related to Web3 technology. The Internet technology we all used to know is about to become even better, and we are happy to see a new circle of the upcoming evolution.