The three phases of the internet

Forget what some people are calling Web3.0.

The first phase of the internet involved taking real world information, and moving it into a digital, connected format – i.e. making web pages.

The second phase of the internet involved taking that newly minted digital stuff, and bringing humanity into the picture (i.e. web pages that are “social”).

The third phase of the internet will involve taking “stuff” that was originally digital, and making it “live” in the real world. All that mobile phone geo-location stuff is just a tiny (and honestly, not very interesting) part of that.


The fourth phase of the internet is already upon us as well, and interestingly enough its as much about hardware as software. This phase involves breaking the physical constraints of the internet and allowing it to work seamlessly through ad-hoc, peer-to-peer, wireless networks (i.e. there’s no ISP and no phone company involved, except maybe for the long lines). This also involves replacing TCP/IP with DTN – especially if humanity is going to do anything useful in the rest of the solar system.

4 responses on “The three phases of the internet

  1. sol

    Wait a minute… I haven’t even heard people use the phrase “Web 3.0”, except when mocking other people who over-use the phrase “Web 2.0” (which is really just a buzzword with rounded corners and nifty gradients) without knowing what it really means. So WTF is Web 3.0?

      1. sol

        u00a0Yes, I’ve seen that. I love the opening line: “Definitions of Web 3.0 vary greatly” Yes they do, and how! I think my objection to the terminology “Web n.0” is that the Web does not change in huge discreet steps, but slowly over time. There is no “release date” for “Web 3.0”, I imagine some of it may already exist in some form (and may have for a while now) and other parts are still years away. nnYeah, really, I just hate that phrase.

        1. Anonymous

          Semantic web is definitely more of an evolutionary thing. Not necessarily visible either – my guess is that most of the heavy lifting will be in the background, as features of products or via APIs.nnWhat I’m talking about here are broad trends. Even things like cloud computing sort of fit into this, in the sense that clock cycles and bandwidth etc all become commodities that are completely transparent to developer – i.e. we’re unhooking the internet from specific underlying technology and allowing it to work anywhere and everywhere seamlessly.