In 2007, a  reporter asked former Google CEO Eric Schmidt an “easy question:” What is Web 3.0?

After some grumbling about “marketing terms,” Schmidt obliged, saying that, to him, Web 3.0 is all about the simplification and democratization of software development, as people would begin to draw on the tools and data floating around in the Internet “cloud” to cobble together custom applications, which they would then share “virally” with friends and colleagues.  -Rough Type, What is Web 3.0?

matrix_code_web3.0 humans standing in The Matrix dataWeb 3.0 Vision
Already in motion, the no longer air-quoted Web 3.0 will be the Internet’s vast data semantically linked to generate a highly efficient, customized user experience. Even physical objects like food containers will have an online address. (We can see early iterations of hardlinking with QR codes right now.) In 2010, farmers began receiving data from cattle transmitting gigabytes of biological and geographical status updates. Your home will become more communicative, with electricity and water usage data sent to the cloud. TripIt will talk to my Brinks Home Security account when I’m on vacation. Don’t be afraid, this is progress. Knowledge is power. AI can be good. The semantic web facilitates machines to understand the meaning of information online.

You will be continuously logged in, not having to re-enter passwords. Sharing with a friend will pull the contextually relevant contacts from your list, aggregating your address book, social network, and suggested second-degree mutual friends.Bar graph of advertising revenue from user-generated content from 2006 to 2011 Today, user-generated content (UGC) not only constitutes an increasing amount of online data; it affects consumer behavior more than advertising does. In April 2011, “people who read customer ratings and reviews for Dell products [were] 138% more likely to make a purchase.”  UGC will inform even more information and behavior. However, the format will change skins and become more concise.

We have largely unnetworked, unlinked data. It would be an historically accurate prediction to expect a micro crunch from the exploding conversational and social Web 2.0. But can you envision a trend reversal of the send-happy, prolific publishing of the average Facebook user’s 90 average pieces of monthly content? Google+ indicates a step toward Web 3.0 because it aggregates data and is cloud. Google Plus may seem similar to Facebook, but in key ways is a departure and progression.

We’re going to the cloud and bringing inanimate objects with us. Once there, micro personal status updates will be overshadowed by immense opportunity. On the current trajectory, I predict that this shift will seem like a big bang, but comprise small behavioral crunches. I.e., we will seem to share much more data, but it will be more 0’s and 1’s and less OMGs; more meaningful bytes overtaking 360 billion pieces of mostly banal user-generated content.