The Third Web

In the beginning there was LO . . . 

From a couple characters sent between two universities on the West coast of the US, to the majority of communication in the developed world, the internet has come a long way in 40 years.

Progress has not been smooth however. Before the 90s the internet held little main stream appeal. It served primarily as a data transfer rail for corporations, famously spacialized by William Gibson as the perilous "Cyberspace".

This first epoch came to an end with Tim Berners Lee's invention of the Web:

"A graduate of Oxford University, Sir Tim invented the Web while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread. - W3C

The first phase of the Web was egalitarian and inclusive, it was a friendly internet. The cost of participation was the same for everyone. Appeal spread beyond corporations and geeks, a new mass media paradigm began to gestate. The websites of the early 90s were read only. You could put one up and use it to publish information, but you could not publish information on other people's websites.

"The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfuls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. - Fragmented Future, Darcy DiNucci

That embryo developed in three directions: Social Media, Online Commerce, and Search.

Toward the end of the 90s a large number of search engines vied for supremacy. You might (or might not) remember Web Crawler, Alta Vista (merged into Yahoo), or Ask Jeeves (now just Ask). These services were relegated to history through erosion by market forces. Leaving only one giant: Google, holding almost 80% of search market share.

Facebook

 

Open source funding

The Semantic Web

Content addressing

Decentralization

The Ethereum Web 3.0

Value transport capability