Web2 vs Web3: Advantages and Disadvantages of each

Web2 vs Web3: Advantages and Disadvantages of each

blue illustration of blockchain layers concept

It is hard to conceive of an area of human history that has seen such rapid and far-reaching evolution as the World Wide Web. Even the phrase “World Wide Web” has a dated feel to it, roughly three decades after the technology it describes took its first hesitant digital steps.

The pace of development in the online space since then has been breath-taking and relentless. We are now at a point where many experts now believe the Web is moving into its third iteration, known as Web3 or Web 3.0.

Let us take a detailed look at this new advance, and examine how we got here, and how we can compare Web2 vs Web3. What is the difference between Web2 and Web3?An analysis of the characteristics of the three generations of the Web in its short life not only highlights the differences between Web1, Web2 and Web3, but also emphasizes the magnitude of the progress that has been made in cyberspace over those few decades.

Concepts that were seen as revolutionary and ground-breaking at the end of the 1980s now appear impossibly antiquated in the early 2020s. As we examine the difference between Web2 and Web3, and look at the benefits of Web 3.0 for users across the globe, it is exciting to look forward and wonder what Web 4.0 and Web 5.0 might look like – and how they might change the world again for our children and grandchildren.

Given the ferocious pace of digital evolution, it is essential that your software needs are catered for by a development partner with extensive experience of Web1, Web2 and Web3. ZirconTech, with our proud history of delivering cutting-edge technological solutions, is ideally placed to be that partner.

The Evolution of the World Wide Web

If there is one word that sums up the Web as we know it today, with all the sophistication we expect from Web2, it is Interactivity. It is strange to recall that, in its early days, the Web was effectively a read-only environment.

The date most commonly given to the launch of the World Wide Web is 1993, following the work of many scientists including Tim Berners-Lee over the previous decade in developing the Internet.

Web 1.0, as it is now commonly known, consisted of websites that displayed content for users to digest. It was effectively a content delivery network that allowed website owners to display information. People who visited such pages were unable to respond to that content.

What is Web2?

If Web1 was the read-only web, Web2 was the read-write web. The most significant difference between Web2 and its predecessor was the extent to which visitors to sites could interact with the content and create their own online presence.

From being a place of static web pages, the Internet was suddenly a domain where users had a far greater degree of control over, and participation in, the content they consumed.

The term Web2 was first coined in 2004, although the characteristics that define it, as outlined above, were already well established across the Internet. The types of websites available with Web2 that were not possible with Web1 include capabilities that we now take for granted, including:

  • Blogs: Web2 gave people the opportunity to create their own websites and to compose their own copy to share with the world.
  • Social media: It can be sobering to realize just how recent the birth of social media was. Many platforms that now play a central role in the day-to-day lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world exist solely because of the advances in digital technology that were part of Web2.
  • Video streaming: Before Web2, it was not possible to watch video clips of your favorite TV shows or films, let alone imagine being able to watch live footage on a platform such as YouTube.

What added to the pace of development around Web2 was the simultaneous speed of innovation in mobile technology. Not only were people able to access this new, multi-dimensional Internet using the desktop in their home or office, but they could also enjoy it in all its interactive glory through the device in their pocket or briefcase.  

What is Web3?

So, what is Web3? What is the difference between Web2 and Web3? More importantly, what is the benefits of Web 3.0? And, crucially, are there any disadvantages that come with this new generation of digital innovation?

The first use of the term Web3 was as long ago as 2014 by Gavin Wood, founder of Ethereum. At the heart of Web3, indeed its defining characteristic is Decentralization. Where Web2 involved a revolution with the front end of websites and the way they interacted with their visitors, the most significant changes under Web3 relate to the back end of sites.

Tim Berners-Lee has referred to Web3 as the Semantic Web, a system in which machines can process content like the human mind, using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.

What is the difference between Web2 and Web3?

In completing a comparison of Web2 vs Web3, the most important area of contrast is in the ownership of digital data, and the apps that deliver it to consumers.

Web2 has been characterized by the centralization of ownership of data and apps. This gave rise to the concept of Big Tech, a small number of immensely influential and powerful organizations who own the servers where data is stored. Companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook – now Meta – and Twitter allow users access to that data in exchange for sharing their information, which could then be used for marketing purposes.

A visual representation of Web2 has a server at its center, with each client connected to that server. By contrast, a map of Web3 displays a decentralized peer-to-peer network in which data and apps are owned by various parties and stored on servers throughout the Web3 network.

One notable feature of Web3 is a greater degree of connectivity. More and more devices in the Internet of Things (IoT), will be able to access multiple dapps that are located on blockchains.

Web 2.0 advantages and disadvantages

One of the ways to assess Web2 vs Web3 is through weighing up the pros and cons of each generation of the Web. Let us take a look first at Web 2.0.

Advantages

–   You do not need permission to use it, and can access it at any time.

–   It is user-friendly, and offers a wealth of information with one click.

–   It enables you to interact with others through online services including email.

–   You can share documents with friends, colleagues and family.

–   It is an ideal medium for promoting your business.

Disadvantages

–   Search results may be inconsistent or inaccurate, and can take a long time to arrive.

–   It is not possible to connect with others without using their website or email address.

–   There is a risk of cybercrime, fraud, and a general lack of privacy.

–   A server owner, such a Big Tech firm like Twitter or Meta, can censor any account it hosts.

The benefits of Web 3.0

Now let us consider the positives that will be delivered to users through Web3.

·  Users get control of, and ownership of, their data.

·  Data can be accessed from anywhere by using cloud and smartphone dapps.

·  Blockchains, such as Ethereum, provide a trusted platform where you receive encrypted data.

·  It is possible to transfer digital assets quickly and efficiently across borders. There is no centralized body holding up the process by insisting on information relating to income, location, gender or any other socio-political questions.

·  There is far less chance of account suspension or disruption. Web3 servers are on a decentralized network, so it is not possible for a single server going down to disrupt an entire network.

·  Because of its machine learning capabilities, a user’s online browsing experience becomes extremely personalized.

Disadvantages of Web 3.0

Web 3.0 may not be for everybody. Those with a high level of digital expertise, and a willingness to embrace new innovations and concepts, will undoubtedly be quick adopters of Web3. However, there are disadvantages to this new era of digital engagement.

·  The whole concept of Web3 may be challenging for less tech-savvy people to understand, and it may be inaccessible for less advanced machines.

·  Some experts believe decentralization will lead to a less regulated landscape where the risk of online abuse and cyber crime is higher than before.

·  Owners of websites will have to modernize their platforms as apps using them become more popular.

·  It is less easy to keep your personal data private, because it is linked to a vast, efficient network.

·  Web3 will take up a lot more energy, which means supporting blockchain technology on a major scale may not be feasible.

·  Transactions can be slower because data needs to be processed through several computers on a decentralized network, rather than a single server.

Conclusion: Web2 vs Web3

two developers working in an office on Web 3

When Web2 came along, it spelled the end of Web1. The enhanced functionality of the new era was such that Web1 systems quickly became obsolete.

We should not expect the same process to be replicated this time round. The advent of Web3 will not automatically mean that Web2 will be quickly consigned to oblivion. For the foreseeable future, it appears certain that we will have plenty of opportunities to compare Web2 vs Web3, as the two systems continue to co-exist.

The simple reason for this is that Web2 still has plenty going for it. There are many compelling reasons why people across the globe, who have grown used to the Internet as it is currently constituted, will want to maintain the status quo.

When it comes to Web2 vs Web3, which one is better? The simple answer is that it depends very strongly on how you use the Internet, and the level of digital sophistication you are happy to attain as the years roll by.

For an extremely sizable proportion of the population, the simplicity of dealing with Web2 as they go about their daily lives is extremely appealing. They are not in the business of developing dapps, they are not concerned with blockchain or cryptocurrency and they are, by now, familiar with the process of using the Internet in their professional and personal lives.

For a more tech-savvy and digitally agile generation, however, the opportunities presented by Web3 are undeniably attractive. In particular, the ability to own and control your own data on a decentralized and deregulated blockchain is a very good reason for embracing the potential of the digital future.

We can, perhaps, anticipate a future in which the best features of Web2 are combined with some of the benefits of Web 3.0 to give rise to a digitally hybrid age that welcomes the best of both worlds.

However you and your business want to approach the advent and benefits of Web 3.0, you need an agile and experienced software development partner to ensure that your solutions are ideal for you and your teams. ZirconTech has broad expertise in this field and we will be delighted to work with you to deliver those solutions.