Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Next Generation Web

What is the next generation of World Wide Web? Is it Semantic Web or is it something else?

This is my view: the next generation Web will be the coupling of Web 2.0 and Semantic Web. This thought is observed from the growing-up of humans. As a metaphor, we may compare the current World Wide Web (Web 1.0) to a baby. And indeed Web 1.0 is a baby because Web 1.0 pages only display information without directly communication with readers and without sufficient machine-understanding. In similar, babies only care of their own interest without thinking about others and without thinking of whether their message could be understood by the others.

When human babies grow up, they start to develop themselves simultanously in two ways. First, they learn to communicate to the other people, especially to the other children. They begin to talk to each other and improve their own knowledge through collective intelligence among groups. This is exactly the philosophy of Web 2.0.

On the other hand, human babies begin to learn from books. After they go to school, they start learning "standard" and "formal" specifications of world facts, which then are understandable by the general public. This is thus the philosophy of Semantic Web.

During the growing up of human children, the two processes interact each other. A proper balance between social activities and textbook learning is a key for children's individual development.

This child-growing scenario is a model for the evolution of World Wide Web. Nowadays, any overemphasis on either Web 2.0 or Semantic Web is unhealthy for the Web evolution. We have to properly combine both the aspects to achieve a well-functioned next generation Web.

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