The Approach of Web 3.0 – What Is It? and What Can You Do?

July 28, 2009

In case you didn’t know that there were different design iterations of the internet, there are, and we’re approaching number 3. So what is Web 3.0? Well to understand the newest form of the Internet, you have to understand how it’s evolved over time. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll rely on how Tim Berners-Lee (creator of the web-browser) describes the Internet. Essentially, Web 1.0 was the read-only web in which content was created and produced by a small group of people. Web 2.0 (the current iteration) is the read-write web. With tools like blogs and social media, Web 2.0 gave us a huge influx of user-created content.

Web 3.0 is more like the read-write-execute web. This is known by a number of different names, such as semantic web, ubiquitous computing (sometimes called “everyware” – now that’s a good pun), or cloud computing. There are really 3 major points to Web 3.0:

User Created Software: In web 3.0 we have tools which make it simple for users to craft and execute their own software and programs.

Electronic Browsing: Web 3.0 also contains the notion of more organized content, perhaps through content-tagging. Put more simply, the web thus far has been designed for readability by people. With web 3.0, content is more easily automatically browsed by computers, making it easier for systems to function through the internet. This makes the web more like a database, and allows for non-browser applications. Leading us to our next point:

Integration with Devices and Hardware: The combination of numerous applications and algorithmic browsability by computer makes web 3.0 the first iteration of the internet that will become truly integrated with our everyday lives beyond the computer screen. We already see basic forms of this, such as video streamed from a computer to a tv, or the picture frames which display a slideshow from an online photo album. Now imagine this in more complex applications, such as a refrigerator which knows when you run out of a certain kind of food and sends an order to a online grocery delivery service. Or even just imagine being able to control everything that plugs into a wall in your house from a single screen. The possibilities are very nearly endless. With enough creativity, one can look at the various objects in any given room and think about how it could benefit from an internet connection.

Other Benefits

There a number of other benefits which should greatly increase the overall user experience with the web. For example, with all the Internet properly organized, the user is provided with a much more meaningful search. If your input is specific enough and what you’re searching for exists, you should be able to immediately find it. And because of the connectivity with hardware, you should be able to search through every existing electronic database. This has become known as “semantic search”. Besides search, there’s also the idea of being constantly “plugged in”. The internet could follow every step of your life. Imagine instead of just seeing ads on facebook based on which groups you’ve joined, seeing ads on tv based on what you just bought at the store. The applications for this technology are endless. To quote the Wall Street journal, “From using easy gestures to grab any piece of information from the Web to having powerful computers in the palm of your hand to being able to quickly dip into complex social networks to getting real-time information from across the globe as it happens, Web 3.0 is an era when computing could become as integrated and invisible as electricity and just as important.”

How Can I Be On The Forefront?

As a business-person it’s crucial to stay on top of every development in the ever-changing landscape of the internet. Web 3.0 is coming about bit-by-bit, we won’t all be downloading the big upgrade from our suddenly outdated web 2.0 anytime soon. So you have time to update your technology and strategy along with the development of the internet. Almost any business has a way they could integrate their hardware with the newest forms of the internet. For example, perhaps you could employ GPS-tagging, something applicable to location-based services such as anyone who ships packages. Bar-code enabled content would be another forward-thinking step. Essentially the goal of all this is to make you and your products more semantically searchable. Currently this is all might be speculative thinking, and the development comes through people acting on that speculation, by innovating and integrating. The best tip here is to be creative when it comes to applications of the Internet and in doing so, be on the cutting edge of the web.

If you want to brainstorm some possibilities together, please contact us

How Twitter Can Make History

June 25, 2009

Time for us to enjoy another video from the great intellectual resource that is TED. This time we’re watching Clay Shirky, a veritable “internet philosopher”, talk about the internet as a new form of media, and its place in our world. Or rather, our place in its world. I’m posting it here because it interestingly parallels the very first post I made on this blog.

Disclaimer: The video is about 17 minutes long. In the interest of appeasing our ever shrinking attention spans and the lack of free time in the work day, I’ll give you a quick summary. Read it with the knowledge that Mr. Shirky does a much better job presenting his points, and with the plan to watch the video later.

Basically, Shirky starts off by talking about the evolution of technology as a social tool. He describes how social technology, from the printing press to the telephone to the television, are effective either as 1 to 1 communication or as 1 to many communication. The Internet is the first vestige of many to many communication. He also explains how Internet’s nature is to absorb all other past forms of media, which we see occurring now and will surely see in more abundance in the future.

Mapping the Internet

Mapping the Internet

According to Shirky, the key to the “many to many” communication of the internet is the fact that it allows everyone to be both a producer and a consumer of media. Whereas with something like television, a message was crafted and then distributed from a relatively small group of producers to the wider consumer audience, with the internet, anyone can say anything they like, and anyone else can receive that message. The benefits of the simultaneous consumer/producer role was evidenced through the recent earthquakes in China. Shirky explains how citizens using the internet were the first to report the earthquakes which China traditionally tries to cover up. We also see the benefits of social internet through the protesting in Iran. Our traditional media outlets have been cut off from reporting in Iran, and as a result, social media through the internet has become a primary source of information.

Purposeful Twittering: Iranians Twitter Too

Purposeful Twittering: Iranians Twitter Too

Shirky concludes with the idea that what used to be the monologue of media, the producers forming a message which they distribute to consumers, is now a dialogue. What’s more, the dialogue is only part of a larger conversation among the audience as a whole. Now this huge audience of amateurs, a group substantially larger than the professional elite, can talk to one another en masse. Shirky postulates that as a result of this, the majority of our media, now and in the future, will be produced by the amateur crowd.

Shirky’s conclusion is that the internet as a new form of communication is less about the traditional methodology: craft a single message, send it to the masses, and more about creating environments for fostering groups of people who then converse.

The final question Shirky asks to end his talk is one which you as someone interested in marketing on the internet should consider, both as a producer and a consumer: As someone trying to reach people, how do you take advantage of this new media environment?

I think that’s a question we’re constantly endeavoring to answer through this blog, and a problem Pathfinder is consistently solving for its clients.

Cutting Edge Technology: The Sixth Sense

March 23, 2009

In the 80’s, the idea of “virtual reality” was all the rage. Virtual reality was supposed to be a simulated version of the real world, or an imaginary one, which one could experience as if it were reality. With an innovative combination of existing technologies, Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry have created a way to project your computer onto reality. Here we have the ultimate portable computer, and an interesting look at an extreme direction technology could be going. Every day the internet and personal computers are getting more ingrained in our day to day lives. The ubiquity of smart-phones and the emergence of ultra-portable laptops is only the beginning.

Description:This demo — from Pattie Maes’ lab at MIT, spearheaded by Pranav Mistry — was the buzz of TED. It’s a wearable device with a projector that paves the way for profound interaction with our environment. Imagine “Minority Report” and then some.

New, Cool, and Useful Sites

March 20, 2009

Cutting Costs the Internet Way

Skype – the Video Phone finally arrives. I saw the original at the 1965 Worlds Fair GE Pavilion. Only took 40 years to get here. We now speak with our employees, customers, family and friends free and quality exceeds my landline!

AskSunday – get a real(human being) personal assistant for $40 per month. Delegate all those little tasks!

Speed Up Your PC/Laptop – why do our machines get slower and slower? Because Windows and other programs generate tons of unnecessary files – “Digital Plaque.” CCleaner automatically get rid of all that junk and hence speeds up your computer.

Just Amazing:
Siftables – the new face of computing.

Got an Idea?:
Ponoko – have somebody make it for you!

Keep It Short: – shorten and track URLs(Internet Addresses) when you include them in your Emails and other communications.

Pathfinder Newsletter

March 20, 2009

Twitter Your Way To Success

As I said last month, I still strongly believe we are entering the greatest period of opportunity in our lifetimes this year. This month begins a series on how to take advantage of it.As I said last month, I still strongly believe we are entering the greatest period of opportunity in our lifetimes this year. This month begins a series on how to take advantage of it.

As background, you have to understand that there is a new tsunami of Internet activity unlike any I have seen since I began this business in 1995. What is it and where does it come from?

Social Interaction is driving everything! Sites from to Facebook are drawng the most activity. The real power of these sites and the category killers like Google and Ebay are when the technology enables something that never happened before. We call that the ‘Digital Advantage.’ For example, Ebay brought a worldwide audience to see and buy that old piece of junk(or in my case kitchen cabinets for $1500) that you were going to throw in the garbage anyway.

So what’s the new Killer Application of Social Interaction? It my opinion, it’s It allows thousand/millions of people worldwide to converse globally instantly in short – max. 140 character bursts. It starts with some of that original early Internet feeling of you help me, I’ll help you but morphs into much more. The paragigm is different. It pushes you to be more creative and more observant.

OK that’s nice, but how do I make money? At first, it’s not obvious, because it looks like people are just chatting away, but here are some more direct examples:

  1. Frequent reference to and mention of your web site – GoodEater
  2. A Backgound that pitches you – DanTanner
  3. Large Number of Followers. This company makes 90% of its Sales from Twitter! Boxee
  4. A great Video from The Founder: Evan’s Video

Want to find out more about how to make this work for you…

Call me – let’s talk about it.

Oh and do sign up and Follow Me…You’ll see the commercial strategy evolve for us at Twitter over the next few weeks: My Twitter

Here’s a good ‘How to Get Started’ from my friend Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos: START

The Internet Evolution Revolution

March 19, 2009

Let’s take a moment to discuss evolution. In a very real sense, the evolution we experience today is entirely different than that which is taught in Biology textbooks. Evolution itself is telescoping. Originally we experienced physical evolution which took effect over huge spans of time. However as humanity has eliminated most physical threats and technology has become preeminent in our lives, the face of human evolution has changed drastically. Our culture is experiencing generational social evolution at an unprecedented rate. This evolution can be tracked along a series of major inventions all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. The cotton gin transformed agriculture. Around 50 years later, mechanization completely redefined industry and production. Another 50-70 years later, the invention of the radio changed the American family dynamic – something which was changed even further by the television in another 20 or 30 years. All these inventions were huge catalysts of social and cultural change, not to mention other equally important inventions, like that of the light bulb, or the motion picture, the telephone, the railroad, the car, or the airplane.

For reference I’ve attached an article from the wall street journal which contains an incredibly information dense graph cataloguing the consumer penetration of technologies since 1920.

If you take a look at the right side of the graph, you’ll see much smaller gaps of time between the inclusions of new technologies into the lives of consumers. This technological inundation is the boon of the “Information Age”, the designation given to the social evolution of the past 30 years. The Information Age was created as a result of, and continues to be defined by the advent of the biggest modern technological catalyst this generation, the personal computer. First we saw the generation who invented the computer, who never quite acclimated to its existence in their everyday lives. Now, the generation which was born with the computer already in place is rising into adulthood. This is the generation that can type with more than its index fingers. As President Obama technologically overhauls the Whitehouse, all with his Blackberry close at hand, we see how this new technology is finally recognized as the major social revolution that it is. The Whitehouse seems to be the final building in America to accept the Internet: ironic that the minds in the United States military were the ones to invent it.

To a new generation, computers and the Internet are like a sixth sense, a way of taking in tremendous amounts of information to be processed later, or not at all. In its original iterations, the Internet was a mode of communication, and soon was seen as the new frontier for business. In a way, the Internet is the ultimate form of transportation. Where the automobile and the steamboat and the airplane globalized the world, bringing people and industries closer together, the internet brings them face to face. It only makes sense that our first inclination was to use this new technology to try to sell to one another. However the user-base and therefore the function of the internet are changing again. The Internet is becoming a social, rather than consumer tool. This began with forums and boards for social discourse and evolved into the social websites we see today, most notably Facebook, and lesser so, Myspace. Sites like Twitter, which are just now gaining the publics interest, are simply new modes of public expression. I recently was in an Apple Store and overheard a conversation between a salesman and a girl looking to buy a laptop. He asked her, “Well, what do you usually use your computer for?” To which she answered, “Facebook” This is pretty representative of a large contingent of Internet users. To them, the Internet is almost entirely a social tool, otherwise useful for occasional surfing, watching a few videos, and maybe buying a thing or two when necessary. This is the “new Internet”.

So the question facing any person running a business is how to take advantage of this “new Internet”. Throughout history, as all new technologies emerge, technologies which become major parts of the social consciousness, those who take advantage of those technologies in the correct way are usually enormously successful. This is mostly because the new technology gives them access to a market to which they and their competitors had never before had access. For the most part, many have missed the very early stages of the Internet. As is inherent with the information age, the plane of the Internet has transformed extremely rapidly, and continues to transform. You may have missed the opportunity to start sites like Google, Amazon, and EBay. But people are still finding new ways to use the Internet, to reach the newest generation. Pathfinder, as an Internet consulting group, essentially seeks ways to allow a company, your company, to reach its audience while keeping pace with the changing face of the Internet. We seek to stay ahead of the curve, discovering new technologies and ideas and employing them in an attempt to keep our clients on the forefront of this social revolution. We help our clients sell to their customers using the multifaceted tools of the Internet. It’s not enough to just have a website anymore. Pathfinder Consulting will help you become a part of the “new Internet”, and by doing so, you’ll have a chance to reach the millions of consumers who live through the Internet. Society, technology, and the world are in a constant state of flux, they are ever-evolving. Pathfinder can be your key to this changing world. Evolve with us.

Understanding Google Adwords

March 19, 2009

Google, one of the biggest internet giants since its invention, subsists entirely on ad revenue. Google gives businesses a chance to be involved in its success through its Google Adwords tool. Though the process of creating and using an Adwords account is generally pretty simple, there are some intricacies which advertisers often don’t quite grasp. As a result, advertisers using Adwords often find themselves neither losing nor gaining any revenue. This video, narrated by Google’s chief economist Hal Varian, explains how to truly take advantage of Google Adwords’s enormous potential to create much more visibility for your website. At the very least, it’ll convince you that Google keeps to their motto, and truly is not evil. Check it out.

Description: “Our Chief Economist, Hal Varian, explains the AdWords Ad Auction and how your max CPC bid and quality score determine how much you pay for a click on”

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