Web 3.0: When Web Sites Become Web Services

Today’s Web has terabytes of information available to humans, but hidden from computers. It is a paradox that information is stuck inside HTML pages, formatted in esoteric ways that are difficult for machines to process. The so called Web 3.0, which is likely to be a pre-cursor of the real semantic web, is going to change this. What we mean by ‘Web 3.0’ is that major web sites are going to be transformed into web services – and will effectively expose their information to the world.

The transformation will happen in one of two ways. Some web sites will follow the example of Amazon, del.icio.us and Flickr and will offer their information via a REST API. Others will try to keep their information proprietary, but it will be opened via mashups created using services like Dapper,Teqlo and Yahoo! Pipes. The net effect will be that unstructured information will give way to structured information – paving the road to more intelligent computing. In this post we will look at how this important transformation is taking place already and how it is likely to evolve.

The Amazon E-Commerce API – open access to Amazon’s catalog

We have written here before about Amazon’s visionary WebOS strategy. The Seattle web giant is reinventing itself by exposing its own infrastructure via a set of elegant APIs. One of the first web services opened up by Amazon was the E-Commerce service. This service opens access to the majority of items in Amazon’s product catalog. The API is quite rich, allowing manipulation of users, wish lists and shopping carts. However its essence is the ability to lookup Amazon’s products.