A few days ago, Charlene Li (Forrester) posted an article – Social networks will be like air. My immediate thought was ‘the mobile phone is the social network’. But perhaps it should have been ‘the mobile phone carries the social network’. It’s a thought that has been percolating through my brain since the comments from Davos:

¨If someone doesn’t have a mobile phone they will lack the basic functions of what it is to be human¨ – Wang Jianzhou (CEO, China Mobile)

By the middle of this year, it is predicted that 1 in 2 people will own a mobile device. The PC will never get that close. Eric Schmidt (CEO, Google), commenting at the same Davos conference, was right to state that we will see new kinds of applications thanks to the mobile phone (and its integrated features – GPS/location-aware, camera, audio/video, storage, telecoms + wifi etc.)

Bill Thompson, in an article on the BBC – How Twitter Makes it Real – makes a comment that highlights how social networks are going mobile:

¨Thanks to Twitter I carry my online networks with me¨

I think we are seeing a glimpse of the early formation of Web 3.0. I can’t be doing with people calling Web 3.0 the semantic web or social graph. Semantics and graphs are tools that feed, and feed upon, all that we are seeing as Web 2.0 – the read/write web, abundance replacing scarcity, digital natives and digital social networks. At best, tools like social graphs upgrade Web 2.0 to, maybe, Web 2.5

Web 3.0 (and yes, the analysts will probably call it Web 3D) will be another paradigm shift. I think it will become known for ‘augmented reality’ – bridging the virtual (think SecondLife), digital (the Internet) and physical (Earth) worlds. In the future, Web 3.0 won’t need a specific device. It will be meshed in our daily lives through ambient devices – sensors in our clothes, houses, cars… and eventually our bodies. But the first device to bring it to reality will be the first device that we constantly carry with us – the mobile phone. And the first software application to bring it all together is Twitter.

[Update: 27 Mar 08] Interesting comment made by a frustrated Motorola employee, as reported by Engadget:

“the next big feature in [mobile] handsets isn’t a camera or a music player – it is social connectedness”

References and further reading:

Filed in Library: Trends/Mobility and Systems/Social Networks

Technorati tags: Web 3.0; Web 2.5

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