Web 3.0: Convergence of Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web

Wolfgang Wahlster, Andreas Dengel

In: Technology Radar Feature Paper Edition II/2006 Pages 1-23 Deutsche Telekom Laboratories 6/2006.


The World Wide Web (WWW) has drastically improved access to digitally stored information. However, content in the WWW has so far only been machine-readable but not machineunderstandable. Since information in the WWW is mostly represented in natural language, the available documents are only fully understandable by human beings. The Semantic Web is based on the content-oriented description of digital documents with standardized vocabularies that provide machine understandable semantics. The result is the transformation from a Web of Links into a Web of Meaning/Semantic Web [ ], (see arrow A in Fig.). On the other hand, the traditional Web .0 has recently undergone an orthogonal shift into a Web of People/Web 2.0 where the focus is set on folksonomies, collective intelligence, and the wisdom of groups (see arrow B in Fig.). Only the combined muscle of semantic web technologies and broad user participation will ultimately lead to a Web 3.0, with completely new business opportunities in all segments of the ITC market. Without Web 2.0 technologies and without activating the power of community-based semantic tagging, the emerging semantic web cannot be scaled and broadened to the level that is needed for a complete transformation of the current syntactic web. On the other hand, current Web 2.0 technologies cannot be used for automatic service composition and open domain query answering without adding machine-understandable content descriptions based on semantic web technologies. The ultimate worldwide knowledge infrastructure cannot be fully produced automatically but needs massive user participation based on open semantic platforms and standards. The interesting and urgent question that arises is: what happens when the emerging Semantic Web and Web 2.0 intersect with their full potential? We analyze this question throughout this feature paper and present the converging idea that we call Web 3.0. We use the following definition in this paper: Web 3.0 = Semantic Web + Web 2.0. A good example for developing Web 3.0 is the mobile personal information assistant (see Fig. 2). The user makes queries using natural language, and the assistant answers by extracting and combining information from the entire web, evaluating the information found while applying Semantic Web technologies. Today's second-generation search engines are based on keywords within the syntactic web, while open domain question answering engines are based on information extraction and the Semantic Web.


German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz