Have you ever blogged, podcasted, wikied, showed photos or commented online? Well, all of these terms that are like a tongue twister for many people, are obviously associated with the wonderful world of the web tools. There has been a flood of perspectives pointing out that web tools have definitely contributed to the way information is collected, treated and analyzed in a global, electronic and interactive medium.
Before we can see the nature of the impact that web tools have on society, we need to be clear about what they are. At one level, we have the earliest incarnation of the web or Web 1.0, tools which enable online users to accomplish an immediate goal, for instance, access a website, email a friend, etc. They are also known as static pages or more technically, a storehouse of online information that could be accessed to achieve an end (West and Turner, 2007).
“The shift from websites that had content which was designed delivered and controlled by the company or person that produced the site, to a ‘user generated’ model of content development” (Peachey, 2011) lead us into a more expansive, more democratic and more interactive tool: Web.2.0. This time we are not going to just read and write, we will be able to socialize, collaborate, create genuine products and share content in an authentic way (Peachey, n/d).
But wait, there is still more. While there has been much recent discussion of what the Web.2.0 follower is, a very important issue has arisen: Web 3.0. According to Peachey (2011), Web 3.0 may be intrinsically related to Augmented Reality. In other words, a kind of fusion between our existing physical reality and the internet throughout mobiles devices which will help us to shorten the distance between internet information and real world objects, places and even people.
And what after Web 3.0? Some people say that Web 4.0 or Ubiquitous Web is under development, but it definitely builds upon all previous stages of the internet growth taking into account both humans and machine agents (Anandarajan and Anandarajan, 2010).