The Unreality of Web 4.0

Another quick little rant that I’ve been saving up…..

We all love new things. Once the Internet was new and it was fun. We were learning all sorts of things. We had no idea of the potential. I thought, incorrectly, that the Web would become a giant library of linked information (similar to the “semantic” web) but that was it. I underestimated the innovation to come.

Then came eCommerce followed by Web 2.0. Both were innovations as we went from Informational to Transactional and finally to Conversational versions of the Web. Web 2.0 definitely changed how we use the Internet and has provided a means for so many people, like my old relatives, to become regular Internet users.

And Now Comes…

Web 3.0!?! GET A GRIP! You can say it will be, or is, the semantic web, but until the semantic web is everywhere, it isn’t a new version of the Web, it is, at best, a new technology. So was Flash and Cascading Style Sheets. They weren’t new generations of the web.

Chill out. The masses will tell us when Web 3.0 is here.

How will they tell us? Simple, they will all be using it and ignoring the outdated, pure Web 2.0 stuff. Heck, for it to be truly Web 3.0, I expect it will have many capabilities of Web 2.0. We won’t know it what it is until it has become widespread.

It MAY be the semantic web, but I would bet against it. For one, creating content for the semantic web is more work than many people want to undertake. Some argue, including myself, that it will take smart content analytics to create the necessary layer of tags and metadata to create the semantic web. Of course, when technology matures, we can just use it to analyze things live, without all that semantic infrastructure.

Even if the semantic web becomes pervasive, I’m not sure it raises to be the level of a new generation or revolution. It took 15 years to get through 1 generation of the Web. Take a step back and breathe.

And Finally

As for some visions of Web 4.0, give me a break. This technology is currently just as likely to be Web 3.0 as the semantic web. Heck, maybe even more likely. I don’t care how cool the technology is, it isn’t the next generation of the Web until people are actually aware of it, not to mention using it.

All you marketing people need to go away and write that book you thought about when you were younger and still had dreams of your own. Stop trying to label things to look like you are ahead of the curve. Settle down and just innovate. Everyone will tell you when you have revolutionized the Internet.

Note: I know a like a bunch of marketing people and some of them are quite good at doing their job. They manage to do it without filling the world with ridiculous terms.

7 thoughts on “The Unreality of Web 4.0

    • Adrian, you are just as guilty as the others. Your post assigns characteristics to both Web 3.0 and 4.0. Maybe those characteristics will just become considered aspects of the current Web 2.0. Stop the label, work on the tech.

      I do believe that we will see faster numbering now that we have started the process. I also see a day when we’ll need to suck-it-up and stop using the word “Web” as it will no longer be an adequate descriptor.

      Of course, I believe a lot of silly things.


  1. Hi Laurence,

    I personally do not see what the problem is with assigning characteristics to evolutions of the web, nor labelling so long as it doesn’t get out of hand, and 3.0. and 4.0 to me is not out of hand when looking at where it is potentially going over the next 15 years. I don’t feel any guilt whatsoever. We label things in all aspects of life, it is natural, what should the web be any different? The aspect of this that I do have a problem with is where companies totally exagerate their product positioning with labelling and terminology that, in reality, is way off the mark.

    Actually @RucknRun, “Labeling the future of the web to get people excited” also has a positive side in that it generates greater interest and awareness, which in turn can lead to more investment and fuel greater innovation in the web.

    Best regards,



    • Adrian, all in favor of assigning characteristics and documenting the future of the Web. That is critical as it enables us to see a future and work towards it. The labeling of versions is the out-of-hand part. When I see it, I don’t get excited, I start to think that I am reading a marketing piece, not real innovation.

      Individuals and organizations cannot apply the label until after it has happened. The new version will be recognized by the behavior of the masses and we won’t recognize the truly significant changes until it has occurred.


    • Funny. 🙂 Pretty sure the Web won’t disappear for a long time, but you correctly point out that the innovation may move to non-web technology.


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