An Overview and Differentiation of the Evolutionary Steps of the Web X.Y Movement: The Web Before and Beyond 2.0

An Overview and Differentiation of the Evolutionary Steps of the Web X.Y Movement: The Web Before and Beyond 2.0

Sebastian Weber, Jörg Rech
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-384-5.ch002
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Web 2.0 is a popular term used to describe a class of Web applications that offers mostly free services to its users. However, an exact definition of the concepts, features, and technologies that argue for a Web 2.0 service is still missing. Similarly, terms such as Web 3.0, Web 4.0, or Web 2.5 also have no clear and unambiguous definitions. This chapter reports the results of a Web and literature survey about Web X.Y concepts. Based on several definitions, we synthesized new definitions for Web X.Y, which provide an overview and can be used for differentiation, and we classified contemporary Web services (e.g., Flickr) according to these definitions.
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Design Of The Survey

Today, the term Web 2.0 is omnipresent. In March 2008, Google Blog Search3 delivered over 10 million blog entries, Del.icio.us4 listed over 400,000 tagged bookmarks, and Amazon5 stocked over 1,700 related books. However, the ACM Digital Library6 returned only 337 scientific publications dealing with Web 2.0, which indicates that there exists only little research in this area. Furthermore, because many user groups have gotten in touch with Web 2.0 in many different ways, there exist many diverse perceptions of what Web 2.0 is all about. The disagreement is even greater regarding the meaning of Web 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, or 4.0.

Thus, our main research objective was to identify the commonalities and variabilities of definitions for Web X.Y. Based on the available body of knowledge in the form of blog entries, scientific publications, and books, we elicited which concepts, definitions, technologies, and services are used.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web 1.5: Web 1.5 services are commerce-oriented content-viewing services based on technologies supporting dynamic pages (e.g., DHTML) and form-based interaction that often had closed APIs and closed IDs for presenting company-generated content. Typical examples are Google, Amazon, or eBay, as well as basic supportive tools such as Content Management Systems or WYSIWYG Web development tools.

Web 4.0: Web 4.0 services will be autonomous, proactive, content-exploring, self-learning, collaborative, and content-generating agents based on fully matured semantic and reasoning technologies as well as AI. They will support adaptive content presentation that will use the Web database via an intelligent agent. Examples might be services interacting with sensors and implants, natural-language services, or virtual reality services.

Web 1.0: Web 1.0 services are presentation-oriented content viewing services based on technologies supporting static Web pages (mainly hard-coded HTML pages) without much interaction, used to display information. Typical examples were simple homepages or directory services, such as Altavista, Yahoo, or Netscape, as well as basic supportive tools such as Web development tools (e.g., HTML editors) and basic search engines, such as AliWeb.

Web 2.0: Web 2.0 services are user-oriented, content-sharing (upload, edit, and download), social networking (personal data), or static mashup services based on technologies supporting dynamic micropages that harness collective intelligence. They may support an open API with closed data and closed ID in order to use the Web as a distributed file system (user-generated content) or collaboration system (net-working effects). Typical examples are YouTube, Flickr, Digg,, LinkedIn, or MySpace, as well as basic supportive tools, such as Wikis or blogs.

Mashup: Mashups refer to an ad-hoc composition of content and services coming from different sources to create entirely new services that were not originally provided by any integrated source.

Web 2.5: Web 2.5 services will be (mobile) device-oriented, user-, link-, or time-sensitive, cross-site, content-moving, virtual-reality-based, or dynamic mashup services based on technologies supporting rich user interfaces and user-sensitive interfaces that might support an Open ID and Open Data in order to support RUE (Rich User Experiences) and personal data portability. Examples are Second Life, Diigo, or Yahoo pipes.

Web 0.5: Web 0.5 services are distributed and content-offering precursors to Web pages using non-standard technologies, protocols, and tools. Examples are systems such as Gopher, FTP, or Usenet.

Web 3.0: Web 3.0 services will be content-oriented, semantic-based, context-sensitive services based on technologies supporting semantically enriched websites that might support portable IDs in order to use the Web as a database and an operating system. Examples are Eurekster, AskWiki, Twine, or Freebase.

Web 3.5: Web 3.5 services will be fully pervasive, interactive, and autonomous agents considering the personal context based on advanced semantic technologies supporting reasoning and basic AI that might bring the virtual and the real world closer together. Examples might be 3D-enhanced virtual social networks, natural-language services, or fully interactive real-life environments (e.g., RFID, ambient sensors).

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