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The Evolution of the Internet

If you hear someone say “the internet,” you probably think of a browser like Chrome or Firefox. You might picture a search bar and a couple of links to websites about the weather or sports scores. These are big parts of the internet, but it's way bigger than that. There is no such thing as “the internet” in the sense of one entity—it's more accurate to think about the internet in terms of layers.

The initial layer is the basic hardware: computers, servers, routers (which connect computers), fiber optic cables (which connect routers), data centers (where servers are kept), and so on. 

The second layer is software like browsers and communications protocols that allow you to use these devices to send information back and forth. The third layer is content: websites, apps, documents, games, basically all digital things. 

When people talk about “what the internet does” or how it works for them in their day-to-day lives, they're usually talking about this third layer—how it lets them read online news stories or share pictures with friends on Facebook or play Fortnite with strangers from around the world. This third layer wouldn't be possible without the second one; both would be nothing without the first one at its foundation.

With web 3.0 looming on the horizon, we’ve put together a short history of the internet so you can reflect on the arduous path it took to get here.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things designates an interconnection of physical devices and other items that are equipped with electronic communication modules which can share data betwixt them. Although this has always been the foundation of the internet, it is now quickly expanding in scope.

The Internet of Things enables objects to be programmed remotely over an existing network infrastructure, allowing for more direct integration between the tactile world and computational systems, improving their use and ease of access. Each object is identifiable by the computing system embedded within it, and it can also communicate with other things on the Internet.

As a result, we are witnessing a paradigm change from the internet of a few linked computers based on human contact to the internet of tens of billions of machines connecting (M2M). Several various technologies might be used to overcome this communication gap, each bringing something unique to the table.

RFID tags and readers, Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) modules are among the most popular technologies now being suggested. We can also add the blockchain to this list because a blockchain network includes virtually every computer that connects to it as a node and works to determine cryptocurrency prices.

Web 1.0

Web 1.0 was a time of static web pages authored by experts and displayed to the end-user on their desktop computers. This was an era of single-tier architecture, where server applications created pages that were delivered directly to client browsers. There was very little user-generated content. The majority of web pages were built by hand, with manual coding and very little or no interactivity or personalization. They also lacked capabilities for sharing and reusing content.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 was the second generation of websites, and web applications became more interactive and collaborative than their predecessors. To give some examples, Web 1.0 (or "static web") was mostly made up of personal and business websites that displayed information but were fairly limited in terms of what users could do with them outside of clicking through various pages and looking at the content. A user could view a website but not contribute much beyond filling out a contact form or guest book that sent an email to the site's administrator when submitted.

Web 2.0 sites changed all of this, opening up new possibilities for interaction on the Internet from both businesses and individuals alike. Common examples of Web 2.0 sites include blogs, wikis, social networking, social media (think Facebook), podcasting, video sharing (such as YouTube), mashups (a combination of two or more websites or pieces of content to create a new service) and folksonomies (user-generated tagging systems).

Communication, Collaboration, and Sharing

Unlike web 1.0, communication and collaboration are key to web 2.0, which is why the terms “social media,” “interactive websites,” and “user-generated content” are so closely associated with it. In other words, web 2.0 applications like Facebook allow users to communicate with each other directly, as well as share information about themselves and their interests for everyone else to see. 

Web 2.0 also makes it possible for people from all over the world to work together on projects like Wikipedia entries or Google Docs files — not only can you contribute your knowledge of a subject or edit a document, but you can also see what changes anyone else has made in real-time.

The Evolution of Social Media

Think of social media as a powerful tool that can be used for good or bad. As more people are connected, it’s easier to share your perspectives and connect with like-minded people around the world. 

Social media is here to stay and is a force for positive change as long as we use it carefully and responsibly. Social media platforms are websites or applications where you can comment, share content about yourself, interact with other users, and post photos or videos.

In 1995 only 14% of American adults had Internet access at home. By 2007 this number increased to 77%. And today, 87% of American adults go online using either a computer or mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. 

As the Internet became more accessible to everyone around the world in the 2000s, many new websites emerged offering communication tools such as social networking services like Facebook launched in 2004.

Google founded blog hosting services like Blogger in 1999 and video sharing sites like YouTube founded in 2005. Photo-sharing sites like Instagram were launched in 2010, messaging apps like WhatsApp were founded in 2009, and microblogging platform Twitter was created in 2006. Short video app TikTok launched globally from 2017 onwards, while video conferencing software Zoom Video Communications was established in 2011.

HTML 5, WebSQL, and the Evolution of Applications on the Web

HTML5 is the latest version of HTML and an answer to the design and interactive desires expressed by earlier incarnations of the language. It's a core technology of the Internet used for structuring and presenting text, images, and video for the World Wide Web and has been widely adopted by software developers as a standard for developing applications on the web. One of HTML5's strengths is its cross-platform compatibility, so it can run on different browsers and devices like mobile phones.

WebSQl is a specification that provides an API for client-side storage of data in a structured format within user agents (browsers). The API uses SQLite as its back end, so it doesn't need to communicate with any server or external database to store data locally.

New Devices and Possibilities

As you may have noticed, many new devices on the market allow users to interact with the internet. Smartphones and game consoles now account for over half of all internet traffic. With this substantial increase in popularity, it's important to consider what kind of impact these new devices will have on the future of web 3.0.

Online User Interfaces and Experience

Today, the opportunities for building rich, responsive interfaces and delivering engaging experiences with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and WebGL are greater than ever. Modern design tools like Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 help you create new user experiences across desktop, tablet, and phone browsers by providing amazing visual effects using CSS3 to provide a fast and reliable experience. However, we need to look beyond these technologies in the next wave of evolution.

Web 3.0 represents a far more sophisticated system for the delivery of interactive content to users on any device or platform. With Web 3.0, you build applications that can store their data in a common database accessed from any browser or mobile device on the planet. 

It does so while seamlessly integrating with all your cloud services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Facebook, as well as a myriad of other developer services such as Amazon S3 or PayPal Payments Pro.

Part of the appeal of web 3.0 is also the advent of blockchain technologies which redefine what currency and record-keeping mean. As we all know, Blockchain technology is an immutable record of transactions that can be accessed from anywhere and can potentially eliminate the need for central authorities. But contrary to what you’ve heard, it’s not just for speculating cryptocurrency prices. The robust database offered by the blockchain is the very fulcrum upon which web 3.0 took shape.

Global Reach Through the Cloud

The cloud is a term for the concept of delivering computing services “as a service” over the Internet. This means that anyone with an Internet connection and any device (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer) can access cloud-based applications, platforms, systems, and infrastructure. Cloud computing allows for greater reach than the more limited local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs) that were used in Web 2.0 technologies.

Web 3.0 is Redefining How We Use the Internet.

Web 3.0 has the potential to change how you use the internet, and it's already in many ways changing how you work. According to a 2017 report by ManpowerGroup, 80% of employers globally have difficulty finding skilled talent with advanced technology experience. Web 3.0 software engineers are among the most sought-after in the industry, and as demand for their skills grows, they're enjoying six-figure salaries and countless career opportunities.

Further, Web 3.0, in conjunction with blockchain technology, is changing the way business and finance operate altogether. With cryptocurrency values rising, and people’s faith in the software growing, blockchain databases are spilling out into the world of healthcare, genomics, and even digital marketing and social media. Even within the diocese of web 3.0, a new horizon dawns before our very eyes.

Learning web 3.0 technologies like big data, machine learning, semantic web programming, cloud computing, and mobile app development isn't easy -- it requires an interdisciplinary approach that blends engineering and business acumen, but it's possible to get there quickly!