Web 3.0: The Immersive Web

10:53:00 AM

CES 2010 has come and gone, but from it, it was clear that this year marks the beginning of the era of 3D entertainment. Before Hi-Def TVs have infiltrated, thoroughly, into every home, watch out! Here comes a new format that companies will say is a "must have."
The conspiri-sensationalist will brush it off, saying that Big Corpoate is at it again, trying to capitalize on the success of "Avatar." They (with a capital "T") are going to be hell-bent on duplicating it, trying to cash in on the hype. For that we'll all have to upgrade our home theatres yet again, while the Illuminatti gloat in their capacity to provide "bread and circus" and make a buck off of it, too.

Didn't we just finally get our first set of Blu-ray disks into our media library, and now we gotta shell out more bucks (which frankly, we don't have in the Bama Bust days) just to keep up with the Jonses? Even the
tech pundits who thive on breakthroughs talk wearily about yet another vector in the format wars.

But, all the misgivings aside for the dopped-up, hyper-innovation atmosphere where every step is a leap for mankind, CES 2010 - and the companies' showcase of their R&D jewels - marks the end of Web 2.0 and the beginning of Web 3.0. For better or for worse, the world will never be the same again.

Let's take a moment to observe how we're using the Web today. In other words, why would companies feel confident that the introduction of a programming-deficient 3D TV is ready for prime time at this particular moment in the digital revolution? It's not just for the sake of finding yet another way to keep getting consumers to buy at top prices - though that's part of it. It's not because people aren't able to shell out the cost of going to "dinner and a movie" and that production houses are looking for new angles to retain the popcorn-munching audience - though that's part of it. It's not because precocious engineers one day woke up after a Da'Vinchi-esque dream and suddenly realized the elegance of a motherboard that could handle computations for 3D on an LCD screen. It's not even that The  System - in a
Noam Chomsky-ish way - has some grand, providential plan for us little people in their machinery - though that's part of it.

Really, what's happening with 3D TVs and their entrance into the consumer electronics catalogue is that the Web 2.0 world has reached that critical moment when the gears are so revved up that it's just begging that the cluch gets pressed while the stick gets put into a higher grear. The pistons of Web 2.0 and it's transmission is giving it all she's got, and you just know in your gut, as the driver, that to get to 60 mph, you gotta get higher gear into the mix.

Web 2.0 was a phenomenal success. It made interacivity, crowd sourcing, collaborative work spaces and user-generated content as staples of the World Wide Web. It also produced, in the process, what one
author succinctly labels Wikinomics, or open-sourced knowledge for the sake of crowd-sourced innovation.

Well, if most of us who have chosen to go the route of being plugged in are being good about it, we all have our little "audience space" in the form of a social networking account like Facebook and a blogging or micro-blogging tool like Twitter or Tumblr. At the very least while we, individually, reap a sense of connection and chamaradery with these tools, and we also, inadvertantly, add value and spurn innovation to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and so on. Without us, the user, these sites would be meaningless, and that's where the Web 2.0 made its sociological breakthrough. It convinced us that we
wanted even craved to connect to our friends, family and strangers through these tools.

They've open-sourced content production, and in return the crowd has produced it - in an over-abundance. In the business of being Facebook, we have to love adding the tags for our photos that ultimately produce targeted ads. This Wikinomics, in short, puts the
"experience" into the service. And for the plugged in, mind you, it's become effortless. It's not just a way of life; it is life! or at least a part of it like going to the mall or the bookstore or go bowling or to the ice cream parlor are all a part of life.

In addition, Web 2.0 has treats with such value the voice of the individual - my voice and your voice - that products/restaurants/retail stores/you-name-it reviews are also becoming a part of life. Hell, eBay has made reviewing vendors and your purchase experience almost obligatory. And, with geo-location games such as Foursquare and Yelp making you "mayor" or a location-go-to consultant based on how many times your thumb depresses the capacitive touch-screen's pellet ... Well, it's pretty evident that Web 2.0 has completed it's circuit of, generally getting everyone to pitch in and make the Web a dynamic, living thing.

But, what about these 3D TVs? Well, even
Google Earth has it's own pipeline for user generated content. It's always been rather perplexing that this offering of Google has remained in the mix and rather highly billed whereas stuff like Google Notebook has been canned. What can you do there, or what has anyone seen of this app beyond some cool images and a way to contribute more peices of the puzzle? Why not just ditch Google Earth and make the "street view" or the newly unveiled "store view" of Google Maps the last stop for virtual walk-throughs of this 3rd rock we're already trying distract ourselves from by staring at a computer screen all day long.

Now here comes the 3D TVs and the goggles to enjoy them with. Suddenly, Google Earth is no longer a fashionable geek toy, but an immersive landscape - the first virtual world that somehow seems eerily like our own. Come this year, we will increasingly be able to sit on our couch and gaze into our next vacation with an experience infinitely better than any IMAX show.

And, if we've truly learned our lesson well with Web 2.0, we will demand and pound our fists from the get-go that we will be allowed the "right" to graffiti on the walls of, or create new experimental social models for that virtual patch of real estate in Google Earth for which we are the Foursquare Mayor in the real world. Shouldn't we have that right? After all, we were the ones who contributed the photos of the "interior" or private spaces that has yet to be defined in this virtual world. We put the sweat and hardwork in, and now that is now accessible to anyone's avatar in an immersive way, shouldn't we be able to own are intellectual property? Aren't we the ones who added the sound effects to make it authentic? Didn't we tweak out the design of the space with our own artwork splashed with some AdMob to make a buck or two out of our labors ...

* * *
Prometheus has brought fire to the mortals in CES 2010, and there's no turning back.

The Gods tremble, powerless to watch as we, collectively, build and shape the Web - a world - in our own image. The Web is no longer merely an information super-highway, it is a vast universe of our own, personal design - a place for humanity to congregate and express it's deepest nature.

But before we rest in our collective hubris that we have surpassed the Gods themselves - that the Web has achieved its apex - we are still at the very beginning of this journey. The personal computer said "Let there be light!" And it was good. Then came HTML, and from this firmament, the waters were separated into day and night. Then the TCP/IP protocol invoked the formation of earth and the sea. And Web 2.0 is mearly the arising of the creatures that populate the garden. Man has yet to be fashioned out of clay, nor has Eve been made out of his rib.  But, despite the absence of Man from his own creation, this genesis is in full swing. We are only a couple of years from inhabiting a universe - a new one that's ours, fashioned in our own image and built on pure human reason.

This is going to be cool!

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