Dave McClure is becoming the Web version of a streetwise ghetto talker. In his latest post, Dave makes some good points, amid the street talk, in his attempt to define Web 3.0 and identify the winners in the race to colonize the Web.
In his day job, Dave is an investor and adviser to Web start-ups, and the more mild-mannered conference chair for Graphing Social Patterns, and a co-chair of the Web 2.0 Expo, which takes place April 22 through 25 in San Francisco.
I agree with Dave that the entities managing personal profile infrastructure, such as user IDs, social graphs, and online payment systems, will have a major advantage in colonizing and monetizing the Web. In his post, Dave wrote:
Because the Future of the Web belongs to whomever controls Search, Content, & these 3 core infrastructure components:
1. User Logins & Passwords
2. Friend Lists / Address Books
3. Payment Systems
Messaging systems (email, IM, and SMS / mobile phones) are the largest aggregations of user logins. They also have implicit social graph data & targeted friend lists buried in their data stores, but they will take a little mining to get to. The#1 and #2 players in messaging are Yahoo & Microsoft, with Google & AOL duking it out for #3 (note: Gmail is growing a lot faster than AOL). Also, if you consider messages on social networking systems, Facebook & MySpace are also significant players. These two have advantages over the others, since they have already built out Friend Lists, News Feeds, Social Apps, & other viral mechanisms in a way that allows amazingly fast & efficient (if spammy) distribution of content. They will get better at it, but they still need to discover better ways to monetize, and currently Google is doing that best via search, and ecommerce systems like eBay & Amazon are doing it well via traditional online shopping & online wallets (PayPal, Amazon 1-Click). Apple is also doing a pretty good job via iTunes of collecting & storing payment info for millions of users.
Dave asserts that Microsoft (with Yahoo) and Google (with AOL?) are best positioned to capitalize on his version of Web 3.0. Facebook, which has many of the pieces, as well as News Corp. (MySpace.com) and Apple will be factors.
As I wrote in a post about the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo union, one of the key elements of the deal is the combined reach of users of e-mail, instant messaging and other communications services.
Having contacts and related profile data provides a hub--the personal profile infrastructure--for building out a social network that is sticky, precision-targeted and monetizable at planetary scale. Facebook and MySpace are trying to build it from the ground up, adding richer communications services to their social graphs. Microsoft and Google are focused on engineering the social into their existing large-scale communications services.
They are all driving toward a social and semantically rich Web. It doesn't need a name, but when it arrives it will be the third major phase of the World Wide Web, a web of relationships and meaning, not just pages and data.