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Forget Web 2.0, Says Berners-Lee: "Web 1.0 Was Already All About Connecting People"

"That was what the Web was supposed to be all along," WWW Founder Adds

'Web 1.0 was all about connecting people,' Sir Tim Berners-Lee (pictured) says, in a podcast currently available on the IBM developerworks site. 'It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means."

"If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis," Berners-Lee continued, "then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along."

The Father of the Web's comments will beyond question be widely listened to and repeated. When on December 12, 2005, his first-ever blog entry saw the light of day on the Web he'd invented, no fewer than 455 comments accumulated within days.

Most of them were adulatory comments designed to make "TBL" aware of how grateful the wider world is for his invention. Which threatened to overwhelm the blogging system of MIT's Decentralized Information Group (DIG), so Berners-Lee in the end disabled the feedback functionality of that inaugural blog, an action he explained with his characteristic modesty:

"Thanks for all the wonderful welcoming comments. We've had rather a lot, and had to turn the comments off on the first blog. I can't answer them all, but I would point out one thing. I just played my part. I built on the work of others -- the Internet, invented 20 years before the web, by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn and colleagues, for example, and hypertext, a word coined by Ted Nelson for an idea of links which was already implemented in many non-networked systems. I just put these technologies together. And then, it all took off because of this amazing community of enthusiasts, who have done such incredible things with the technology, and are still advancing it in so many ways."

He then attempted, with equal courtesy, to emphasize that the aim and scope of his new blog was fully congruent with his newer, Semantic Web, interests - and not so much with his former, W3C life:

"By the way, this blog is at DIG, the Decentralised Information Group at MIT's CSAIL. I intend it to be geeky semantic web stuff mostly. For example, it won't be for W3C questions which should really be addressed to working groups. So thanks for all the support, no need for more general 'thank you' comments! Thank *you* all."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
saddino 08/23/06 04:52:27 AM EDT

IMHO, the problem with the Semantic Web is the same problem that evolved the Web from a linked knowledge store to a commercial-driven directory.

Yes, it would be nice if all data were tagged and understandable, but let's be honest: the commercialization (and its result: exploitation by marketers) of the web would certainly spill into the Semantic Web, and so Berners-Lee's vision would be once again ruined by
1) incorrect/misleading tagging,
2) competing standards and
3) out and out fraud.

timeOday 08/23/06 04:25:23 AM EDT

The Web itself has grown less semantic over time!

The original idea for HTML was that you'd mark up content with a description of what it was, rather than how to display it. Then any device could use its "understanding" of the documented (conveyed for instance by paragraph tags) to render the page appropriately. This is an example of a (somewhat) semantic Web.

That idea has been rejected. In the end most Web creators preferred convenience and/or exact control over appearance, in preference over the ability to use the data more flexibly.

Enough Already! 08/23/06 04:05:46 AM EDT

Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web 4.5...what does it matter: what's with version numbers on the Web, at this particular moment?

FT Germany 08/23/06 03:47:45 AM EDT

A dark side to the shiny new world of Web 2.0 is being exposed by virus writers and the internet security companies that counter them.