February 28, 2024

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What is Web 3.0? Here’s what the internet will look like in the future

8 min read

“What is web 3.0?” is often asked with a tone of skepticism, apprehension and leeriness — similar to when David Letterman teased Bill Gates in a ‘95 interview, causing an uproar in laughter after asking, “What about this ‘internet’ thing? Do you know anything about that? What the hell is that exactly?”

Gates babbled on about how the internet is a place where entities can publish the latest information on their homepages, and users can send “electronic email” to others around the world. He didn’t know it, but at the time, the Microsoft co-founder was describing “Web 1.0,” the era of the internet between 1991 and 2004 when most users were the consumers of content — not the creators of it. 

What is Web 1.0 and Web 2.0? 

Tech pundits say Web 1.0 was “read only.” In other words, many perused through websites and absorbed information, but often did not play a major role in generating and disseminating content. For example, a typical Web 1.0 user would read news articles on AOL, hunt for websites about their favorite rock bands via Yahoo! search, play some web browser games, hop into a few chatrooms, but user-generated content from this internet surfer was few and far between.

Getty Images

Getty Images (Image credit: Future)

Attempting to convince Letterman that Web 1.0 is useful, Gates told him he could look up information on topics that interest him, including cigars and auto racing. A stubborn Letterman waved him away and said, “I’ve got that covered! I’m subscribed to two British magazines that are devoted entirely to motorsports.”

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