I was meandering around Seth Godin's blog when I came across something I was eventually dreading I would find - a line extension of a buzzword that's already lost its meaning. Just when we were all catching up to Web 2.0 - Seth now has skipped a few numbers and gone to Web 4.0. Here's the history of web number-itis:
Web 1.0 Lifespan (1990-2003) Tim Berners-Lee (*potentially Al Gore too) - the ability to broadcast content in a shared web universe
Web 2.0 Lifespan (2004-2008) Tim O'Reilly - the ability to interact and have two-way exchanges in a shared, public, participatory and interactive web universe with the associated benefit of network effects (the more people particpate, the better it becomes)
Web 3.0 Lifespan (2009-2012) Tim Berners-Lee (again) - his portrayal of the future web called the Semantic Web - a smart web interface that uses intelligent agents to make sense of stuff (data, transactions, connections) with little effort or human interaction
Web 4.0 Lifespan (2013-2019) Seth Godin - (I know this will show up as a Squidoo lense soon and then in his next book, so I might as well credit him now) - a web that understands who you are - and is omnipresent and omnipotent - detached or attached to a computer , it will take initiatives on your behalf based on your needs - if you thought the Blackberry was scary handcuffs, you ain't seen nothing yet---a very helpful but Orwellian web of the future.
I won't classify it as 5.0 but willthrow out a thought evolved past even Godin's 4 - the web will eventually be linked to all your human functions and determine what you need automatically (blood sugar is low, it will deliver you food), too many calories gained (it will book an appointment with a personal trainer), going past 20 hours of meetings per week (it will free up and reschedule space in your calendar), kids are going downtown (it provides a radar map that tells you exactly where they are), investments too risky (it will immediately adjust your portfolio based on trading patterns), heart in stress (it will red alert a message to a hospital for immediate attention)...brave prediction - my under/over on this universe is 2020. Any takers?