LinkedIn founder and chairman Reid Hoffman says that the future of the web will be all about data and how we utilize it.
While he conceded that mobile is an obvious candidate for what will define “Web 3.0,” he said that data will be the platform of the next era of the web. “This is where some massive innovation will happen that will transform our lives,” he told Liz Gannes of AllThingsD on stage, during a fireside chat at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.
Hoffman, who is now a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, says that data will come in two forms: explicit and implicit. Explicit data is data that users willingly give to social networks, blog posts and tweets, while implicit data is data collected in the background, like geolocation information.
There are also two types of data sets, he said: tightly held sets (passwords, credit card numbers) and open sets. He cited Google as a company focused on the open data set, since in order for its search engine to be functional, it needs website data to be publicly available and indexable by its bots so it can be delivered as search results.
All of this data will lead to a lot of interesting products and insights. He cited LinkedIn Skills as an example of how analyzing user data can result in useful insights and reveal trends — figuring out things like which industries are growing the fastest and which skills are related to each other.
Hoffman also had a strong opinion of what companies should do with the data they collect. “Good Internet companies do not ambush their users,” he said. Both Google and Facebook have been criticized for their use of user data and their treatment of user privacy. Google in fact settled with the FTC on Wednesday in relation to “deceptive tactics” the company used with Google Buzz.