Monday, August 28, 2006

Four Generations of the Web

The other day I was reading the article about Web 2.0 and it reminded me that I had some thoughts on the subject as well. In my view, since I've gone online in the 90s, four generations of the Web have existed.

  1. Geeks. In the beginning, the were few web pages, and indexing them was easy. The web spam did not exist and nobody created pages, unless they had something to say.
  2. Businessmen. As Web grew, the prospect of making money online became real and the online business boomed. On the positive side, many companies established Web presence and online shopping took off. On the other hand, the amount of spam was growing, search engines did what they could to curb it, but there was simply too many sites to sift through. Human -edited directories had hard time catching up, while software filtering was not yet advanced enough to clean things up.
  3. Robots. Google has single-handedly started a new generation - proving that with enough smart people and advanced algorithms, it is possible to produce quality results, regardless of how big the Web became.
  4. People. The new era is being ushered by the sites like Open Directory and even more so, the Wiki project. While admitting that robots can do a great job, we are seeing that a new way of human-edited Web is possible. Allowing everyone to edit pages, like Wikipedia does may seem insane, yet it definitely works! For me, Wikipedia, has become the "standard repository of all knowledge", akin to the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And the interesting thing is, the ability to edit pages was right there, in the original design of Tim Berners-Lee, the Father of the Web!
So, in a way we've come the full circle. Once again, it's Power to the People. Yet, the Web has grown and people have learned, so things are looking better than ever!


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