In all the Web eras the fundamental hyper-linking property is actually the same. What differentiates Social Web (or Web 2.0), Semantic Web (or Web 3.0) and WebOS (or Web 4.0) from the Web 1.0 is that are currently exploiting link spaces to different benefit. Web 2.0 earns value from the social dimension of linkage properties, Web 3.0 from URI-based semantic linkages. We expect for WebOS that the interlinkage among data, software, machines and people in a broader scale could create a new source of value.
In this context, the research question can be summarized in “what are the value creation mechanisms in Web environments?”
In order to answer this question we use the conceptual frameworks of “digital goods”, “New Economy”, “network effect” (or network externality) and “Transaction Cost Theory”. Additionally, new policy propositions for Web technologies as a social and economic development tool (beyond investments in ICT infrastructure) are discussed.