Last night we covered the announcement of Twine, which aims to be the first mainstream Semantic Web application. Twine founder Nova Spivack showed me a demo of the new app, which he described as a "knowledge networking" application. One of the things I asked Nova right at the end of the interview was his definition of "Web 3.0", a term he has been using in his blog.
While people are (rightly) skeptical of another version number for the Web, I thought Nova's definition was a useful one. He told me that web 2.0 "is a decade and not a technology" - and that it's more about defining the character of each era, rather than trying to define a Web era as a set of technologies. So in those terms, he said web 2.0 = social web and that web 3.0 will be the "intelligent web". By that he means that apps are getting smarter, because data is getting smarter. It's clear he was referring to the Semantic Web - his company is based on those technologies.
As for 'web 4.0', Nova said that will be when AI (Artificial Intelligence) comes into being.
I should note that Nova's definition of web 3.0 is self-serving, because his new product Twine is an "intelligent web" product that uses semantics. Also I am not a proponent of continuing the version numbers - just as 'dot com' is the term for the first era of the Web, and 'web 2.0' the second, there will be a new term that bubbles up at the right time to describe the next era (perhaps 2-3 years from now). Heck, it may even just be called the Semantic Web! However, I liked Nova's way of looking at the meta trends on the Web and I certainly see automation/intelligence coming to the fore in the next Web era - just as "collective intelligence" and socialness have come to the fore in web 2.0. What are your thoughts on this (and please don't focus on the version numbers, because it may well get called something other than web 3.0 when it actually happens).