Europe Wants To Spearhead ‘Web 3.0’ – Whatever That Is…

We haven’t, to my mind, even hit on a workable definition of “Web 2.0” yet (and it’s questionable whether iterations can even be appropriately applied to the web at all), but the European Commission today said, with all seriousness, that it wants our continent to “lead of the transition to Web 3.0“.

Still, media commissioner Viviane Reding seems certain what the big three-oh refers to: it’s “seamless anytime, anywhere business, entertainment and social networking over fast reliable and secure networks”, “a tenfold quantum leap in the scale of the digital universe by 2015”; in other words, “The Internet Of Things“. But she’s opened a consultation to ask the internet companies how we can get there: “Europe has the know-how and the network capacity to lead this transformation. We must make sure that Web 3.0 is made and used in Europe.”

Reding pulls out some stats found down the back of a sofa to claim “a quarter of Europeans used Web 2.0 sites in 2007” (have the Web 2.0 police vetted your site for 2.0 compliance recently?). But her focus for 3.0, unlike 2.0, is firmly on infrastructure (“there will be major opportunities for EU businesses as long as there is enough investment in high-speed broadband access”)… not so much a leading-edge web innovation brainstorm as a typical public digital divide manifesto, and a catch-all for all manner of blue-sky technology initiatives.

The result of the consultation will go to the European Parliament and Council in Q2 2009. Release.