A thousand people have a thousand different ideas about the metaverse. But most technologists agree that the metaverse is the next chapter of the internet. Such consensus stops short, however, as there are many different ways to think about these “chapters.”
One camp focuses on the method of interactions. Chapter one is the internet of reading text and viewing pictures. Chapter two is the mobile internet of consuming videos and using various apps. Chapter three is the metaverse, a real time, three-dimensional, fully immersive internet experience.
Another camp is centered on the idea of value distribution, and is based on blockchain technology. Chapters one and two are both centralized internet of information, while chapter three, the so-called Web 3.0, is the decentralized internet of value.
Chapter one is read-only web portals plus personal websites and therefore half centralized. Chapter two is read and write (think of blogs and social media), and mostly centralized by major tech platforms. Web 3.0 is read, write and own, where data is owned by the users, facilitated by the magic of the blockchain.
For Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc., all these different ideas are welcome and accommodated. Unlike other tech leaders such as Meta and ByteDance, which are pushing for their own visions of the metaverse, which I wrote about previously, Baidu is tech path agnostic.