TECH TALK: Web 2.0: The Past Year

The Web 2.0 meme was coined by Tim OReilly and John Battelle who first organised a conference in 2004. In an interview to preview this years conference, here is what they had to say (recorded and partially transcripted by Information Week):

…he wrote, “Web 1.0, content created by someone else,” “Web 2.0 content created by the user.” [the architecture of consumption vs. the architecture of creation]
…the secret of success on the Web appeared to be harnessing the users…
…people don’t usually think of Google as a user-participation company…
…users build the relevance into Google…in some sense Google is a collective-intelligence application…
…and that leads you to another principle…the long tail, which has gotten a lot of press since Chris Anderson introduced that term…
…in Web 1.0, everyone was trying to build walled gardens…increasingly you’re seeing sites that are prospering by creating open fields…

Here is an overview of last years conference. This is what I wrote in the introduction to that series:
The next Web has been creeping upon us. Through the hiatus of the past few years, entrepreneurs and once-maligned Internet dotcoms have been working to put together a new Web around us. It has many elements which were mostly unheard of a few years ago web services, RSS, blogs, wikis, social software, and the like. It is about machines interacting with other machines to make a better experience for us. Underlying this new Web is commodity hardware and open-source software and a lot of innovation, which goes by the name of lightweight business models. The Web is becoming a platform.

Much has changed in the past year. The use of Ajax popularized by Googles Gmail and the innovative Google Maps interface brought the possibilities of the emerging technologies to the forefront. In parallel, the popularity of blogs has amplified the culture of participation. Who would have thought a couple years ago that something like Wikipedia could have been possible? Or that we would take photos and share them with others through a site like Flickr? Or that Google, from its humble origins as a search engine built on algorithms that measured page relevance based on incoming links, would become the worlds largest media company by market capitalisation and be in a position to threaten the reign of Microsoft, the dominant software company of the past two decades? Change is in the air. There is palpable excitement. There is something new being created. For some, it is like 1995 all over again. So, what really is this Web 2.0 thing?

Tomorrow: Tim OReillys Views


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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.