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« Out of the corner of your eye | Main | My Karma ran over your Dogma »

Web4

Fanfourlogst_1 The web changed my life. I can't live without wikipedia or Google. But ultimately, I'm disappointed. Almost every day, the web lets me down.

What do web users do for a living? What do we get paid to do that makes it worth giving us a web browser? Me, I make connections. I take disparate ideas and connect them in (hopefully) useful ways. Others do it with people, or cash instead of ideas. But we're all connectors.

Tim O'Reilly coined the term Web 2.0. It is a bit controversial, but basically it describes a generation of web pages that go beyond the flat HTML of the original Web. Web 2.0 pages encourage community and user-generated content.

Web 3 is the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, largely credited for inventing the world wide web in the first place. It's more commonly called the Semantic Web. The idea is, to quote Lee, "I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize."

I'll get in trouble for this simple shorthand, but it's data about data. Websites that are smart about what they are and what they contain. But what's it for? I mean it's very audacious and powerful, but why? And what drives it to work?

The opportunities of the semantic web are limitless, and I can't wait. But that's not Web4. Web4 is what I'm really waiting for. And it's entirely possible that Web4 will get here before the semantic web even though Web 3 makes it work a lot better.

We start with this:

  • Ubiquity
  • Identity
  • Connection

We need ubiquity to build Web4, because it is about activity, not just data, and most human activity takes place offline.

We need identity to build Web4, because the deliverable is based on who you are and what you do and what you need.

And we need connection to build Web4, because you're nothing without the rest of us.

Web4 is about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative.

Some deliberately provocative examples:

I'm typing an email to someone, and we're brainstorming about doing a business development deal with Apple. A little window pops up and lets me know that David over in our Tucscon office is already having a similar conversation with Apple and perhaps we should coordinate.

I'm booked on a flight from Toledo to Seattle. It's cancelled. My phone knows that I'm on the flight, knows that it's cancelled and knows what flights I should consider instead. It uses semantic data but it also has permission to interrupt me and tell me about it. Much more important, it knows what my colleagues are doing in response to this event and tells me. 'Follow me' gets a lot easier.

Google watches what I search. It watches what other people like me search. Every day, it shows me things I ought to be searching for that I'm not. And it introduces me to people who are searching for what I'm searching for.

As a project manager, my computer knows my flow chart and dependencies for what we're working on. And so does the computer of every person on the project, inside my team and out. As soon as something goes wrong (or right) the entire chart updates.

I'm late for a dinner. My GPS phone knows this (because it has my calendar, my location, and the traffic status). So, it tells me, and then it alerts the people who are waiting for me.

I visit a blog for the first time. My browser knows what sort of stories I am interested in and shows me highlights of the new blog based on that history.

I can invest in stocks as part of a team, a team that gains strength as it grows in size.

Here's Rikard's riff on how the iPhone could be more like Web4.

I'm about to buy something from a vendor (in a store with a smart card or online). At the last minute, Web4 jumps in and asks if I want it cheaper, or if I want it from a vendor with a better reputation. Not based on some gamed system, but based on what a small trusted circle believes.

My PDA knows I'm going to a convention. Based on my email logs, it recommends who I ought to see while I'm there--because my friends have opted in to our network and we're in sync.

I can fly to the CES for half price, because Web4 finds enough of us that we can charter a flight.

I don't have to wait for Rickie Lee Jones to come to town. Sonos knows who the Rickie Lee fans are, and makes it easy for us to get together and initiate a concert... we book her, no scalpers necessary.

I don't get company spam any more ("fill out your TPS reports") because whenever anyone in my group of extended colleagues highlights a piece of corporate spam, it's gone for all of us. But wait, it's also smart enough that when a recipient highlights a mail as worth reading, it goes to the top of my queue. If, over time, the system senses (from how long I read the mail, or that I delete it, or that I don't take action) that the guy's recommendations are lame, he loses cred.

Sure, it sounds a bit like LinkedIn. But it's not. LinkedIn tends to make networks that are sprawling and weak. Web4 is about smaller, far more intense connections with trusted colleagues and their activities. It's a tribe.

You don't have to join a tribe. But if you did, would you be more successful?

Unlike Web 3, we don't need every single page in the world to be 'compliant.' What we need is:

  • an email client that is smart about what I'm doing and what my opted in colleagues are doing. Once that gains traction, plenty of vendors will work to integrate with it.
  • a cell phone and cell phone provider that is not just a phone.
  • a word processor that knows about everything I've written and what's on the web that's related to what I'm writing now.
  • moves by Google and Yahoo and others to make it easy for us to become non-anonymous, all the time, everywhere we go.

This stuff creeps some people out. The thing is, privacy is an illusion. You think you have privacy, but the video surveillance firms and your credit card company disagree. If we're already on camera, we might as well get some benefits from it. If we choose.

I think it's fascinating that Web4 is coming from the edges (we see all sorts of tribal activities popping up in blogs, communities, rankings, Digg, etc.) as opposed to from the center. Web 2.0 happened in largely the same way. Even online, big organizations seem to have the most trouble innovating in ways that change the game.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Web4:

» Seth Godins vision of theweb from ÜberEye
Seth Godin has an awesome post about his vision of the web. He calls it Web4. What is Web4 you ask? Seth says its about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative. A few of my favorite ideas a... [Read More]

» Seth Godin's Web 4.0 and the iPhone from Out of My Gord
Seth Godin's Web 4.0 and the iPhone [Read More]

» On To Web4 from Payments News
After that brief moment of silence for Bitpass, let's move on to Web4 - so artfully portrayed by Seth Godin. "I'm about to buy something from a vendor (in a store with a smart card or online). At the last minute, Web4 jumps in and asks if I want it che... [Read More]

» oh my god web4 from Sea Change
Seth lays out the future by describing Web4 the new new thing that may hopscotch web 3.0 (i have read 100 descriptions and still cant tell you what that is) and bring us all closer together. I remember reading Stewart Brand’... [Read More]

» En toen was er web4 from Marketingfacts
Web4 is what Im really waiting for. And its entirely possible that Web4 will get here before the semantic web even though Web 3 makes it work a lot better. (...) We need ubiquity to build Web4, because it is about activity, not jus... [Read More]

» Web 4.0: a semantic web from gmtPLUS09
Seth provides a brilliant primer of what Web 4.0 can be in this post.The opportunities of the semantic web are limitless, and I can't wait. But that's not Web4. Web4 is what I'm really waiting for. And it's entirely possible [Read More]

» the 119 emerging markets from Kishore Balakrishnan's Blog
do you know the 119 emerging markets where the Windows Vista Starter edition will be available ? I have posted the question at askville: what are the 119 emerging markets ? where Windows Vista Starter will be available btw: Steve Yegge writes in The Pi... [Read More]

» Basic Elements to Success from topspeakeronline.com
Different people view Success differently. To some, success means financially independent with wealth; to others, success is climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. Perhaps, you view success as having a well balanced lifestyle, personal developmen... [Read More]

» Web 2.0 is now Web 4.0 from MS MossyBlog
I once had a dream, where your operating system loads up. Their is no TaskBar, Start Button and Menu [Read More]

» Ecco a voi il Web 4.0 by Seth Godin from
L'altro giorno un prefessore di Oxford ha detto che internet è al capolinea, oggi vi propongo le visioni di Seth Godin per il Web4. Un esempio: sono in ri... [Read More]

» Web 4 from Seth Godin from The Escape Blog
we don't need every single page in the world to be 'compliant' was a strange comment in this great post from Seth Godin about what the web should be about. Not the next generation, but the generation after that. It's [Read More]

» Seth Godin on Web4 from JDsBlog
This is easily one of the best posts of the year, and the year has only just started.. Seth Godins Web4 This stuff creeps some people out. The thing is, privacy is an illusion. You think you have privacy, but the video surveillance firms and your ... [Read More]

» Becoming Transparent from Balanced Life Center
As I was going through my daily reads this morning, I read a post by Seth Godin on Web 4.0. He painted a picture where our actions could be anticipated by machines after they have been trained by our habits. All prefaced by us becoming more transparent... [Read More]

» Web 3.0 simply explained from Blogging for Business
So like this really cool bald dude beat me with his rendition of Web4, no '.0' needed. As usual, Seth Godin is ahead of the curve, no matter how anyone may try to warp it. [Read More]

» The Web 2.0 window is closing ... from The Software Abstractions Blog
Web 2.0 has come a long way from its early frontier days. It has matured to the point where the creation of new Web 2.0 services has passed out of the affordability zone for individual, non-financed developers. There is now [Read More]

» Web 4.0 from Tech Guru
[Read More]

» Wikilobbying ... Stephen Colbert's ongoing love affair with Wikipedia from My Name is Kate
In an excerpt on Monday night's show discussing Microsoft paying someone to edit its entries on Wikipedia, he coined a new term: Wikilobbying.Wikilobbying: When money determines wikipedia entries and reality has become a commodity.Hilarious. Harbinger.... [Read More]

» Numbers Game from knewworld
So just about everybody is jumping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon these days, from instant message clients... [Read More]

» Are you a lone ranger or an active tribemember? from Christian Burns is thinking things through
Great post by Seth Godin, go and read it. He makes the point that I have so much trouble communicating to others about where I see the internet headed. It is what my focus is right now. Trying to live it for the purpose of putting the tools in to actio... [Read More]

» Commodity from Commodity
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» Becoming the Internet from Dan Blank: Publishing, Innovation and the Web
Seth Godin has a fascinating piece on the evolution of the web, focusing on the idea of the semantic web. To quote Tim Berners-Lee: I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the conte... [Read More]

» Was erwarte ich von einem social network? - some insights from noname-community project
Ein erster Einblick in unsere Featureliste und Ideen. Web 2.0 das kollaborative Web, das soziale Web, das Web des Nutzers und seines Netzwerks? Eigentlich schon, aber man sieht noch nicht so viele Produkte in dieser Hinsicht, denn bisher reicht es scho... [Read More]

» The new future, same as the oldone from Ben Kraal: making the ordinary
Seth Godin blogs on Web4, two moves beyond web 2.0, and describes some deliberately provocative examples, inter alia: Im late for a dinner. My GPS phone knows this (because it has my calendar, my location, and the tra... [Read More]

» Semantic Web, We Hardly Knew Ye from The Errant Idea
Meaningless buzzwords last a few years at best before they lose their cachet with the digirati. So it is with the too-clever-by-half coinage Web 2.0, which after over three years of wide usage has overstayed its welcome. Obviously it mu... [Read More]

» Web 4.0 Redefined from DigIn!
Web 4.0, or as Seth Godin shortens it, Web4, is coming upon us fast. Godin's description of it covers the foundation: Web4 is what I'm really waiting for. And it's entirely possible that Web4 will get here before the semantic [Read More]

» Private Jets from Private Jets
A natural progression and synergy exists between an aircraft purchase. [Read More]

« Out of the corner of your eye | Main | My Karma ran over your Dogma »