What are apps?
When you use your computer or phone and you use software programmes like Facebook, Instagram, PayPal, SnapChat, Excel, Word, or Gmail, those are what are called "applications" or "apps" for short.
All of these applications and more run on your computer or phone and connect to the centralized servers of the providers of the apps to render their services. These providers are tech companies such as Google, Meta, PayPal, Snap, Microsoft, Netflix, or Amazon, amongst many others.
Until the advent of the blockchain industry, nearly all of these apps that we used and still use are essentially centralized services that have certain risks such as lack of privacy, censorship, surveillance, cooperation with government to suppress dissent, and general abuse of their power as monolithic and monopolistic services in their respective segments.
Because blockchain technology is decentralized and some blockchains are programmable, now there is the real possibility of creating and providing decentralized applications.
What are dapps?
Applications that run on blockchains instead of the servers of the giant tech companies are called "decentralized applications" or "dapps" for short.
The way they work is that you have your wallet installed on your computer or phone and from the wallet you can interact with these dapps, but instead of being hosted on centralized servers, they exist inside public blockchains which are decentralized, hence they are not controlled by the big tech companies or governments.
The benefit of decentralization and dapps is that they greatly minimize the risks of centralized services as mentioned above.
What is Web 3?
When the web first started to get popular in the 1990s, that was what was called "web 1", which were the first generation web apps like Yahoo and AOL.
The web 2 was the next generation of web apps and smart phone apps that came after web 1 during the 2000s and 2010s. These may be Netflix and social media apps in general.
Now, with the advent of blockchain technology and the ability to provide services in a decentralized manner powered by crypto, the new generation of dapps are called web 3. This is because decentralization is a new paradigm in tech.
When you use a centralized web 1 or 2 app, the back end code, front end code, images, text, and data are always retrieved from centralized servers that belong to the tech companies.
When you use a decentralized web 3 dapps, the back end code, front end code, images, text, and data are always retrieved from decentralized blockchains that host all of these components.