The internet is facing another transformation, a transformation beyond web 2.0. For those not as familiar with recent web trends, Web 2.0 which lasted roughly from 2005-2008, saw the introduction of the Social Web. Whereas Web 1.0 was read only, Web 2.0 was read/write (anyone can be a publisher).

The term “Web 2.0” defined an era, just like “Dot Com”. Web 2.0 brought improvements to search, saw the massive growth of social networks like Facebook, introduced and redefined online media like Hulu, Last.fm, and Youtube, new content and blog integration and mashups like Google Maps, and Flickr. In 2009, web entrepreneurs are starting to look beyond Web 2.0 to create a new era of transformation. Structured/Linked data like Wolfram Alpha, OpenCalais; the introduction of the Real-Time Web with Twitter, FriendFeed; increased personalization within Facebook, and Amazon.com; the “internet of things” ; and the mobile web leveraging the explosion in powerful handheld internet devices like the iPhone. Structured Web The structured web is changing the way we view data. Instead of viewing data independently on different web sites, more and more web services are emerging that aggregate and mash-up this data into a structured format that is personalized to the user. Pages are the not the center of the Web now, Data and Services are. For example, Wolfram Alpha processes Wikipedia, and other content across the web, through its built-in algorithms to display you results in a packaged and accessible format. Instead of just displaying lists, web services are starting to organize and personalize that data. The next generation of structured web formats will further integrate e-commerce and social networks to find and sell products relevant to user’s interests and the interests of their friends.

University of Washington have developed a powerful example of what can be done by using a web service to aggregate and link up data available across the web. Through advanced photo analysis and modeling techniques, they used over 150,000 photos on Flikr to create 3D composite models of Rome’s most famous landscapes. Real-Time Web The real-time web has arrived in the form of short 140 charter blurbs. Twitter has certainly revolutionized the way people communicate, encouraging people to share ideas, products, and thoughts continuously. Facebook has also joined in on this trend by shaping their service around the users “wall” and encouraging their users to update their status continually. These technologies are exciting as they create a more personal network that contains information direct from users, as it happens. However, I believe there is still a tremendous amount of potential innovation within this space that awaits smart entrepreneurs. Twitter and Facebook proved that the market is ready and excited about this new form of communication. Now, smart innovators must find additional ways to structure and organize all this new data. Personalization Personalizing the web through filters and recommendations is another emerging trend. The internet is shifting to discrete units of information organized in ways that are relevant and personal to each individual. Marketers and online commerce are also working to integrate themselves with consumers at a more personal level. Increased access to a user’s social graph will drive innovation here, as more data will become available. User’s of the future will also be able to carry their friends and social connections with them, as they traverse the web, personalizing and sharing information as they go. Recommendation engines are also becoming more powerful and relevant. For more information on innovations in data portability, check out: http://dataportability.org/ The Mobile Web The mobile content market was $3.5 billion in ‘08, and is expected to grow to $6b by 2014. 2008 saw an explosion in mobile apps, with over 10,000 apps available and over 300 million downloads. There is tremendous growth potential in the area of cross-platform integration, where the mobile app and website are married together. Platforms that combine social networking with mobile will drive unprecedented change in communications and commerce. In-app commerce is another area of huge potential growth as micro-payment commerce platforms become more ubiquitous and inexpensive. These trends mark an inflexion point of the Web, and are all exciting avenues for web entrepreneurs and developers to further develop. Exciting change is coming, will you be a part of it?


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