The Internet’s Development: Web Evolution From 1.0 to 3.0

Over the past few years, the opinion has been increasingly expressed that the current model of the internet is outdated from a moral perspective and requires revision: corporations collect detailed user data, knowing more about us than our closest relatives, and they censor self-expression.

Opinion leaders and industry leaders offer their ideas on the formation of Web 3.0 and talk about how to make the network better and safer.

By the way, some IT enthusiasts have already created a Web 3.0 project, Utopia P2P, which is functioning perfectly now. You can find out more here.

In this article, we will look at the web evolution from 1.0 to 3.0, and analyze what is predicted for us soon.

Web Evolution From 1.0 to 3.0

First, it is important to note that the so-called versions of the internet were formed gradually over time. There was no clear historical transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.

internet evolution

Secondly, as the network was developing and new functions were starting to appear on websites, the internet came to new concepts and users noticed that they were already using a completely different infrastructure. At this stage, they described the ideas of the new era, as well as summed up the results of the past.

Third, the concepts themselves are conventions initiated by influential people. As history shows, they most often arose after comparing services and sites for their use of technologies.

What will the future web look like? Read our predictions here.

Web 1.0: main features

The very definition of Web 1.0 came into use, oddly enough, after the appearance of Web 2.0. The comparison showed that the internet had become completely different, and it was possible to highlight the features and differences from the previous “version.”

The entire period of the first network lasted from 1991 to 2004. Web 1.0 can be described in one phrase — Read-Only. This also explains the basic concepts: users were only able to view pages and interact with content.

The possibilities of user participation in creating content had not yet been developed on the internet; they only consumed what appeared on web resources — no authorizations, trackers, and registrations.

Site data was stored on servers in file systems and were often issued in the form they were already in. This feature forced webmasters, when adding new pages, to re-layout those that already existed for the sake of adding links.

Tables were used to align the content, and there was no adaptability on the sites, which often recommended the resolution at which the information would display correctly. Also, not every site was supported by all browsers, so webmasters placed badges with logos of those web browsers that worked correctly with their resources.

The design of the sites was also very far from the current diversity and interactivity. Many sites neglected HTML markup and gave users “raw” text. The pages were dominated by bright colors and simulated textures that mimicked wood, stone, or metal. For dynamism, GIF animations were placed on the sites, which somehow enlivened the content.

At the end of the Web 1.0 era, forums and chat rooms began to appear, which allowed users to participate in the formation of content themselves. But at the same time, Amazon, from the very opening of its website, allowed customers to leave reviews on products. In a way, the corporation was ahead of its time.

Web 2.0: main features

It is believed that the era of Web 2.0 began in 2004 and continues to this day. Now large corporations and vast numbers of users have joined the game. The former took control of the network and began to build online empires, and the latter were allowed to participate in the creation of content. Web 2.0 itself works on the principle of Read/Write Web (you can read and write on the network.)

Widespread authorization and the ability to create an account on almost every site have come to the internet. Users began to voluntarily leave their data and consent to data collection in exchange for convenience and the ability to use resources.

Web 2.0 evolution

Companies also got the opportunity to make money on data by selling it to advertising agencies, and some opened their own such services, which helped to fully concentrate profits in their hands.

Social functions have appeared in Web 2.0: more and more resources allow users to communicate with each other, exchange messages, and make calls.

The changes were reflected in the design. The appearance of the sites became more pleasant, rounded shapes began to prevail along with simple, precisely-matched colors; and designers began to pay attention not only to appearance but also to convenience. Websites have become simpler, but no less informative.

In general, it is noted that Web 2.0 is dominated by patterns that kill the individuality and originality of sites. Typography came into use: the text on the sites began to stand out as important. There are titles, subheadings, different fonts, underscores, and highlights. And sites have become adaptive: the same web portal can be opened both on a desktop and a smartphone.

Website development has become more complicated compared to Web 1.0. For the convenience of users, web services have appeared, and data has begun to be transmitted in JSON or XML formats. Most of the operations have moved to the company’s servers, and users no longer need to take care of updating data and computing power. AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) allowed pages not to be reloaded every time, but to asynchronously load only the data that the user needs.

The internet of the Web 2.0 era is “ruled” by recommendation algorithms. It is in the interests of corporations to keep the user’s attention on the platform, so companies tend to recommend to the user the content that will be interesting to them.

Algorithms take into account many factors and work almost everywhere, from social networks to marketplaces. That is why, for example, if two users open the YouTube homepage, the content on it will be radically different. This principle shows another difference between Web 2.0 and the first “version” of the network when thousands of users viewed the same page.

Given the growing popularity of social networks and the abundance of content, companies have become more attentive to published information. Strict rules and moderation have appeared on the platforms. Users do not control the published content, and companies have the right to delete content that violates their rules.

Web 3.0: main features

Here are some of the defining characteristics of Web 3.0:

Web 3.0 evolution
  • decentralization: Data will no longer be stored on single servers, but will be distributed among users. The necessary calculations will move from data centers to laptops, smartphones, and “smart” gadgets of users. Currently, some technologies make it possible to achieve this, but there is no consensus on which of them will be the basis of the “new internet.”

Decentralized vs. centralized: what’s the difference, and which is the better choice? Read more here.

  • AI and machine learning: Intelligent algorithms will not disappear from the Web and will also continue to help users search for the necessary content. Some researchers note that in the future, AI can be used to identify custom comments on marketplaces, which will help create more transparent services.
  • Openness: The software will be mostly open source, which will allow you to thoroughly understand how the tools work and how they interact with the user.
  • Freedom: It is expected that censorship on the Web will be abolished, and everyone will have the opportunity to publish any content; the role of moderation will be assumed by the community, not corporations.
  • Ubiquity: Experts assume that in the era of Web 3.0, the internet will be almost everywhere, and IoT devices and “smart” gadgets will become distributors.
  • Semantic web: Machines do not understand natural language queries well and still often make mistakes. To improve this process, it is planned to use semantic web technology, when information of the type “subject — [a type of relationship] — another subject” can be obtained from the network, and logical connections can be built based on this data.

In addition to the key differences, enthusiasts and experts predict other changes. Firstly, the method of authorization in the services may change to a single layer, which will be the key to all resources on the network. Something similar is implemented now: with the help of a Google or Facebook account, you can log in to almost any site, but in the case of Web 3.0, a single account can become both a wallet and a banking application.

Secondly, the internet will become more democratized and the usefulness of content will be determined by Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which will become large companies and services, and DAO participants will have the right to vote and make decisions important for content and organizations themselves. In other words, it is something like a global system of karma.

How soon can we expect the transition to Web 3.0?

Decentralization does not mean abandoning data. And there are no serious prerequisites for the fact that there is less data about users.

Users are happy to upload all their information to social networks. And corporations successfully analyze it and sell it to advertisers.

The transition will take place at the moment when decentralized networks become more convenient and attractive than classic ones.

Bitcoin is several orders of magnitude simpler, faster, and cheaper than SWIFT. YouTube is more interesting than TV. News on Twitter appears earlier than in the media. Convenience and trust are the main incentives, not the underlying technologies.

Web evolution with bitcoin

How to buy bitcoin anonymously. The methods that work are here.

Decentralization is a complex mechanism. All other things being equal, a centralized database is faster and cheaper to develop than a blockchain.

If corporations can maintain the trust of users in their platforms, that decentralization may not be in demand by a wide range of users, at least not for some time.


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