Web 2.0 - What Is That?

I doubt many of you remember how did the old Internet look like. By “old” I mean a period from cca 1990 to 2000. I’m 19 years old so I have only foggy flashbacks from that era. There were no big online communities, just few people knew about something like instant messengers. Most of the websites looked the same (ugly) and consisted of few static pages. That was the old Internet. But times have changed to a great extent.

World Wide Web 2.0 or just Web 2.0 is a term that refers to a supposed second-generation of Internet-based services - such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies - that encourage people to share information online in ways previously unavailable.

Let’s take a look at few examples of Web 1.0 → Web 2.0 transformation:

DoubleClick → Google AdSense

Akamai → BitTorrent → Napster

Ofoto → Flickr

Britannica Online → Wikipedia

personal websites → blogs

domain name speculation → SEO

Finally, let’s have a look at Tim O’Reilly’s (one of the creators of the term) definition of Web 2.0:

Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an “architecture of participation,” and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.

I’m sure that by now you already have pretty solid idea about what Web 2.0 means. It isn’t technically different from the old Internet. The main difference lays in the concept of how the online information is shared and how the users collaborate together to make the online experience better.

Four years passed since the first appearance of the term Web 2.0 in 2004 and it seems it won’t just go away. Web developers have adopted the new concept very fast and it is evolving and gaining new ground each day.

12 Responses to “Web 2.0 - What Is That?”

  1. Nice summary of what web 2.0 is and also what it isn’t. I wonder what web 3.0 will have in store for us.

  2. Thanks for feedback :)

  3. Hey that was nice work…

    Could u also post something on applications on web 2.0 which can be commercialised?

  4. Hey thanks for the reply :) What do you mean by web 2.0 applications? Something about social bookmarking sites?

  5. “19 years old so I have only foggy flashbacks from that era”

    That shows. Really, this is quite a poor piece, that doesnt sum up web2.0 with any degree of credibility.

    “Domain name speculation > SEO”

    They were both strong in the 1990’s, and are still going strong now.

    “DoubleClick → Google AdSense”

    Er, google just bought dubleclick, for quite a large amount of money…

    “What do you mean by web 2.0 applications?”

    Did you not even read the quote you provided?

    Theres no mention of ajax, or rich UI’s - and the whole piece seems to have little real insight or understanding.

  6. I appreciate your feedback (even though it’s very negative) but I disagree with you at almost all points you made.

    First of all, I’d like to say that there’s no official definiton of what Web 2.0 means. Moreover, this term covers a variety of phenomenons so it’s hard to explain it in depth. There’s no description that would satisfy everyone.

    Secondly, SEO is much stronger now than it was in 1990’s and domain speculation hasn’t disappeared but it isn’t as decisive now as it used to be. You must honestly agree with that.

    AJAX isn’t as firmly interconnected with Web 2.0 as it might seem. It has existed long time before Web 2.0 - it’s just that it hasn’t been used much before. One could also ask why I haven’t included PHP in this article, too (it doesn’t seem like that but yes - PHP played important part in the beginnings of dynamic web).

    And finally, this article was meant to give only some basic information and few examples of what Web 2.0 means. It wasn’t meant to describe it so comprehensively. So please understand this was just a general post, not intended to examine the problem scrutinizingly and go through details.

  7. By your own admission you were 12 years old at the end of the 90’s, so please don’t tell me about SEO back then, or domain speculation, or dynamic sites (yes, they exisited before php)

  8. That would mean I cannot talk about anything I haven’t experienced on my own.

    Does Australia exist? No, of course not, cause I haven’t been there. Did Napoleon exist? Nope, don’t remember him - was too young back then.

    But seriously, I have been educating myself in this area for years plus I am studying this stuff at college etc.

    I’m not trying to tell that I know everything but I’m trying to learn new stuff each day so I’m getting better.

  9. Seriously - your post isn’t very good.

  10. Ok. Maybe you’re right. I will try to improve my future posts’ quality ;) Thanks for critique.

  11. I found this to be pretty well written. I know “Ben” seems to be a little critical (and much too cranky), but I enjoyed reading your post. You stated your age up front, so we knew you weren’t claiming to be an expert, you were just sharing what you have learned so far, and trying to help others understand some basics, and that’s great.

    Over the last few years I’ve asked a wide variety of people to explain what web 2.0 is, everyone gives a different answer. To be honest, I don’t think there is an absolute answer.

    I hope that you don’t let the one critic ruin your enthusiasm, I thought you responded to his comments very graciously. You have a good, clean writing style. I hope to see more soon (btw, I came here from Mixx).

  12. Thanks very much :)

    I always welcome negative opinions so I know how to get better. So I appreciated Ben’s critique, too.

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