Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > The Web/Virtual Worlds/Social Networking

Peeking Into Web X.0

  • Print
  • + Share This
Web 3.0? 4.0? How about Web 42.0? Alex Gofman peers into the future of what the Web will offer.
Like this article? We recommend

Recently, a magazine of the global market research community asked me to write a column about a future of the Web and its impact on the consumer research industry. I have decided to look for answers at the Web 2.0 conference in New York that drew thousands of attendees from around the globe.

As avid conference-goers have discovered, the most stimulating part of many conferences comes not from the presentations but rather from the ‘buzz’ on the floors. Such discussion abounded at the conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center this September as highly opinionated visitors eagerly talked about the nebulous future of the Internet, looking into Web 3.0, 4.0 and beyond.

How many versions of the Web are there anyway? While many are still trying to jump on the Web 2.0 train (current version), the future incarnations of the Web are already being thrashed out. The most popular among the bloggers seems to be Web 4.0 with the sequential line of foreseen versions going on and on seemingly endlessly until Web 42.0 (by then, I stopped Googling). With the current trend of about a decade per Web ‘version’ to fully develop, Web 42.0 would unroll midway through the current millennium.

Much like the ubiquitous Rashomon effect demonstrates how a single phenomenon can be viewed unidentifiably by different people, there is no uniform opinion about the Internet development, even in the near future. Corporate IT and finance executives see Web 3.0 parsimoniously replacing desktop applications such as the omnipresent Microsoft Office with more affordable software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications available on demand over a network. Internet gurus see Web 3.0 differently, calling the upcoming version the Semantic Web. Proposed by the ‘father’ of WWW, Tim Berners-Lee, Web 3.0 will analyze all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers, allowing computers to converse to handle day-to-day business and personal tasks.

Semantic Web, yet to realistically materialize, will simplify many of our tasks, including basic Web searches. Currently, searching for the Hilton Paris hotel poses a risk of distraction to continuing business tasks, as major search engines do not really differentiate between “Hilton Paris” and “Paris Hilton.” Semantic Web is expected to be smart enough to understand the searcher’s intent beyond the keywords. A welcome development, yet still about data, but not people.

According to Seth Godin, author and globally recognized technology-minded Internet guru, Web 4.0 is about ubiquity (as it deals with activities, not just data, and most human activity takes place offline), identity (as the results are based on who you are, what you do and what you need) and connection (an individual is nothing without the rest of us).

In Godin’s vision of Web 4.0, if I were to start typing an e-mail proposing a particular business deal, a message would pop up, telling me that one of my colleagues is already in talks with the same company. If I were to miss an airplane flight, my cell phone would automatically find alternatives, help with the re-booking, and automatically let my dinner appointments know that I’ll be late. When I consider a purchase, my Web device will ask me if I want the item cheaper or if I prefer to buy it from a vendor with a higher reputation. The advice is not based on the paid keyword or any other gamed system, but rather on what a small trusted circle believes. It sounds a lot like the Semantic Web – with less privacy.

Let’s dream further. The search engine observes my searches and does the same for other similar minded people. It suggests to me other interesting things I ought to search for, and it puts me in contact with people with matching search patterns and presumably similar mind-sets (birds of feather).

Or you visit a blog (or a website) for the first time. The browser knows your interests, what you are usually reading or looking for and suggests the appropriate entries. Spam would be mainly eliminated because when any of my colleagues marks an e-mail as a spam, it applies to the whole group. The same goes for personal e-mails and how my circle of friends marks them. At the same time, if a colleague highlights an e-mail worth reading, it goes to the top of my e-mail list. The system keeps a note of my reaction to these e-mails – do I read them, take an action or just delete. Over time, it learns whose suggestions are worthy and who lacks the credibility.

Some futurists see the upcoming Web as a place where any data – in fact, all data – is ubiquitously available. All knowledge encompassing music, art, books and movies is publicly available. Even more, our individual experiences, senses and, in the most daring predictions, even our thoughts become a public domain making people a part of the global network of humans and machines. DeWitt Clinton, one of the influential Web gurus, predicts that the distinction between human and computer thoughts will be blurred. We will be part of the network, the network will be part of us. We will be the hive mind, and we collectively will have evolved into something quite unlike anything the world has ever seen.

For many, the world of future Web envisioned by technology visionaries might sound rather more frightening than enticing, as much of one’s life would become open to others (although limited to the trusted circle). The truth is, however, that nowadays privacy is an illusion. While we lull ourselves into thinking that we have privacy, video surveillance and credit card companies and website operators disagree. If the information we are fighting so hard to protect is already out there and databased on many servers in every corner of the world, we might as well get some benefits from it, if we so choose.

If one is dubious about technical feasibility of these ideas, look at the short and explosive history of Internet and communication technologies in general. They develop with ever-increasing acceleration getting to the next level faster and faster, sometimes even leapfrogging itself. In fact, Web 4.0 and some implementations of the following versions develop from the periphery based on the needs of the consumers (as Web 2.0 did). Thus, it could come sooner than the Semantic Web of 3.0, which relies on the centralized and coordinated efforts of making all websites complying with new standards.

Whether it is called Web 3.0, 4.0, 10.0 or 42.0, the upcoming changes should make peoples’ lives easier, fuller, more interesting, more connected and more transparent anticipating what consumers want deep inside. This is what market research is designed to discover, this time on a 1-to-1 basis and without averaging. Could it be another opportunity for the industry to help shape the future?

_______________________________________

This article is an extended version of an article that was published in Research World, the monthly magazine of ESOMAR (www.esomar.org/index.php/research-world.html).

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020