European telecommunications commissioner Viviane Reding's vision for the future of the internet has been praised by Vint Cerf, one of the pioneers of the internet and now vice president and chief internet evangelist at Google.p>

Reding launched a consultation on the next generation of the internet, laying down what she sees as its essential elements and calling on Europe to lead the way to get there.

"Web 3.0 means seamless 'anytime, anywhere' business, entertainment and social networking over fast reliable and secure networks. It means the end of the divide between mobile and fixed lines. It signals a tenfold quantum leap in the scale of the digital universe by 2015," she said.

At the same time the European Commission launched a report, outlining the main steps Europe must take to respond to the next wave of what it dubs the "information revolution."

Trends leading to Internet 3.0 include the boom in social networking, the shift to online business services, nomadic services based on GPS and mobile TV and the growth of smart tags using RFID, the report found.

It concluded that Europe's focus on open and pro-competitive telecom networks and its emphasis on online privacy and security make it "well placed to exploit these trends."

Cerf said in a blog that he shared Reding's vision, with its focus on free and open networks and the need for open standards. However, instead of seeing Europe in the driving seat of change, he said the continent is well positioned to keep up with other parts of the world.

"For Europe to keep up in the global online race, it needs to sprint ahead powered by an openness recipe encompassing a neutral network, users rights, and open standards. I'm delighted to see that Europe's policymakers stress the successful ingredients to promoting a robust, healthy Internet," he said.

The report accompanying the launch of the consultation "makes a compelling case for open standards," Cerf said.

The report also identified a need to re-examine the concept of copyright in the online world, and called for a new business model for copyright holders. Cerf said Google was also looking closely at this issue.