Ok – so here’s why I really really dislike the term “Web 2.0″. As well as the common problems of a phrase used to describe a new paradigm in computing (such as the problems around terms such as SOA), “Web 2.0″ in particular suffers from a specific problem. Using “2.0”, a number that sounds like a version you would apply to a software product, simply encourages people to be the first to claim to have come up with, or understand the next version. Already people are starting to talk about Web 3.0 just to be the first clever person to come up with it because it’s so easy just to add 1 to Web 2.0 and get Web 3.0. Usually, the way things work is that you notice a trend, and then coin a phrase. With Web 3.0+ it’s backwards – we already know what the next development in web technology will be called, we just don’t know what it is yet. It is less easy to know what the successor to SOA will be called(although if it’s SOA 2.0 I will not be happy). After this it will be Web 4.0, then Web 5.0, then we’ll argue about whether the next is Web 6.0 or Web 5.5 or Web 5.0 Service Pack 1.
Other changes in IT thinking, such as SOA, Model Driven Architecture, Object Oriented Programming didn’t have this problem, and I’m sure that much of what is currently written and obsessed about over Web 3.0 would not have been produced if it wasn’t so easy to come up with the name of the next big thing, and then have to think about it’s meaning afterward.
That is not to say that there won’t be a further revolution, and something worthy of the term Web 3.0 won’t come along (think semantic web) – but the use of a version number means we’ll have to put up with a lot of false positives before we find the real thing.