During 2003-04, O'Reilly Media popularized the term Web 2.0 which is also termed as the social web. Web 2.0 describes a new and potentially disruptive stage in the development and usage of the Internet.
This concept of Web 2.0 has since become highly popular and has thus created as much confusion as consensus about what it really means. There is no fixed or coherent definition, rather a conceptual set of principles and practices based on how it evolves and emerges today.
Web 2.0 originated from the observation that the Internet was far from dead after the industry boom of the dotcom technologies at the beginning of the 21st century where the scope of growth of Internet technologies were fading out from hope. Although the Internet crisis caused a substantial shakeout of Internet firms, it also marked a turning point for the web.
A whole new range of successful Internet applications burst onto a scene in which on-line social communities with a strong bottom-up (from user to management) character play the key role, and where the mobilization (like content management, aggregation and syndication) of user-generated content is the main function.
The nature of these applications gave rise to the qualification ?the social web?. Most remarkable and perhaps not comparable with what went before is the exponential growth of this new generation of applications, both in terms of the number of applications and the number of users.
Now the technology and thought flight travels beyond web 2.0 to web 3.0 and web 4.0 (in general web x.0).
Web 2.0 and its success
Behind the success of many Web 2.0 applications are smart ways of using the web asa platform for data management, particularly by exploiting the connectivity andcollective intelligence of users with less investment. Web 2.0 services exploitconnections between users, as these connections provide manifold opportunities tocreate added value for business in one dimension and for growth and relationshipmanagement in another view.
Not only are users actively consuming content, they are also taking on distributionroles in peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, and content creation roles in the case of usergeneratedcontent. Users actively rate and tag content, upload/download content,comment on it, bookmark for reference and discuss it with their peers. Furthermore,users share agendas, locations, bookmarks, documents, photos, videos and evenfriends, all online and on a large scale.
Fig-1: Trends in computing technologies
These user roles, combined with the scope and speed of the Internet, provide many opportunities to design new and innovative services. Thus, it is fair to state that one of the crucial features of this next stage or second stage of the web is the empowerment of the user.
Roles of users
In the current Web 2.0 era, it is no longer appropriate to term users as end-users, as they have moved into a predominant role of value chain of Web 2.0 technology. They have become important actors in virtually all aspects of online services and their role is important for the success of Web 2.0 technologies. The fast growth and massive uptake of Web 2.0 services are at the origin of a deeper socio-economic impact, the signs of which are only just becoming evident.
Now, due to the growth of wireless technology and mobile usage, the industry has seen the emergence of wireless web and shifts itself to meet the trend from Web 2.0to Web 3.0. Mobile social computing has recently emerged as a key innovation area,given the growth of social computing applications and the growth of mobile devices.In recent times, a survey says that there are three times more mobile phone subscriptions worldwide than Internet users. The number of devices that can access the net is growing rapidly (like consoles, TVs, DVD players, MP3/MP4, digital cameras, eReader like kindle and GPS devices). Competition in this field is fierceand technology growth is rapidly fast that people can.t imaging the extent of newinvention that they can witness in a short amount of time.
Mobility is an important trend worldwide due to the invention and the strengths inmobile technologies and mobile devices. Many desktop-based social computingcompanies (YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, and Twitter) have introduced theircounterpart in mobile devices by racing to replicate their success in the mobile areaas well, alongside the start up innovation taking place in the mobile socialcomputing area.
Fig-2: Semantic web
It is the trend and core kernel behind Web 3.0 technology where it is considered as a paradigm shift in the usage of internet. In Semantic web, the data content is considered as linked like a web of data and helps in sharing web content beyond imagination breaking the barriers and boundaries of current web technologies.
Semantic web uses a new framework called the RDF (Resource Description Framework) which is a language for describing information and resources on the web and interpret the information (called metadata).
Putting information into RDF files, makes it possible for computer programs (called"web spiders") to search, discover, pick up, collect, analyze and process information from the web.
This helps in trend analysis and trend report generation. For example, if a user wants to buy a Windows Mobile, he can use semantic web with some keywords(based on his expectation like 3G/HSPDA or X-Radio) then he can search the semantic web which can use its tool to search various indexed (RDF based) pages across different data resources (web page, book, PDF and other documents) and give a trend summary with comparative analysis (according to the sophistication provided by the semantic tool) of various mobiles with different category of analysis.
Web 4.0 and beyond
Web 4.0 eyes at Web OS as its core technology for innovative high-end and of course low-cost resource usage. Web OS provides OS services to wide-area applications froma distributed space, including mechanisms for resource discovery, a global namespace which can be accessible anywhere, remote process execution, resource management with personal storage as well, authentication, and security (role handling and privacy policies).
Now-a-days, on a single machine, application developers can rely on the operating system installed in his machine to provide these facilities. In the wide area or distributed area, however, application developers are forced to build these abstractions themselves which can prove costly and time consuming (to setup and handle every time) or to do without the need of all or some of them. This ad-hoc approach wastes developer effort, cost, time and system resources.
To address these problems, Web OS provides basic operating systems services needed to build applications that are geographically distributed, highly available,incrementally scalable, and dynamically reconfiguring. An application that demonstrates the utility of Web OS is Rent-A-Server, a web server capable of dynamically replicating itself geographically in response to client access patterns.The next level of technology growth aims in defining Cloud computing where user can handle any data and any resource (application, tool, database, workspace environment, development space, testing facilities) distributed and can be accessed anywhere, anytime.
The concept of Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 forms the base of these technologies and there is advent growth in each of these areas which shows that the technology or the concept behind them has not become obsolete or come to an end/death state.
There are growth in Web 2.0 areas like new social networking concepts and new social bookmarking concepts. Also, Web 3.0 has its own development and growth like the latest tool for Web 3.0 called Hyper Twitter which can search and extract data(metadata) and information from any users (twitter) status message. These results can be used for any twitter search analysis.
These growth shifts the need of internet and web technologies from business perspective to social and beyond them like socio-economical and unprecedented boundary of community web.