TECH TALK: Web 2.0: More Views

Richard MacManus, with a blog focused on Web 2.0 and appropriately entitled The Read/Write Web, summarises some of the interpretations:

Om Malik: “a collection of technologies – be it VoIP, Digital Media, XML, RSS, Google Maps whatever . that leverage the power of always on, high speed connections and treat broadband as a platform, and not just a pipe to connect.”

John Hagel: an emerging network-centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.

Susan Mernit: “The enduring lesson of all of the social media and emerging technologies is that we’ve created an a la carte, do it yourself platform where users can engage with sophisticated forms of search, feeds, metadata and APIs, social networks and identity, and commerce and fill these vessels with their own information…”

Dave Winer thinks it’s The Two-Way Web redux. (and it’s interesting to note the focus of my weblog before Web 2.0 was precisely that – Dave’s Two-Way Web vision).

Wikipedia’s current definition: “Web 2.0 is a term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications, like Gmail, to end users. The proponents of this thinking expect that ultimately Web 2.0 services will replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.”

Richard goes on to outline his elevator pitch:

Web 2.0 at its most basic is using services on the Web. Some examples: Gmail for email, Flickr for photo-management, RSS for news delivery, eBay for shopping, Amazon for buying books. That’s why the Web is being called a platform – because all of these services are being built and used on the Web. Why Web 2.0 only now though – hasn’t Amazon been around since 1995? Why yes, but it’s taken until 2005 for broadband and web technology to catch up and reach a ‘tipping point’ – the Web is fast becoming the platform of choice for developers, business, media, public services, and so on.

So what do I get out of this “Web 2.0”, you ask? The advantages of using the Web as a platform is that the services become more social and collaborative – and geographic boundaries are blown away. A lot of the content is actually created by users. For example all of the reviews and ratings entered into Netflix by its users help make it easier to find and filter the thousands of DVDs that are available on its website. Another advantage of using the Web as a platform is that services can be built using data and code from other services – for example Housing Maps is a “mash-up” of Google Maps and real estate listings from craigslist. So Web 2.0 provides services that people can contribute to as well as mix and match.

One of the best posts outlining Web 2.0 has come from Adam [Embracing the Monkeys]:

From an individual perspective, in a fully realized Web 2.0 environment, everyone will be able to find what they need, complete their desired tasks and receive value from all of their web transactions…In our eyes, people as computing power is the single most important aspect to what Web 2.0 really is at its essence.

The conceptual shifts in our collective thinking has been whats driving this global dialog forward for the past year, Rather than reinvent the wheel, this is a bullet list summary view of all the holistic picture as we all see it instead of taking the either/or approach, We prefer to look at these conceptual shifts holistically. Each is true, yet to look at them singularly doesnt tell the whole story. As a composite, this is what we feel defines Web 2.0.

Wrapping it up:

  • Data will continue to be more interoperable and highly portable. (See XML/RSS/Atom, web services, trackback, APIs, etc.)
  • User experience becomes highly-personalized both in terms of whats expected from an interaction model as well as the knowledge that is delivered. (See RSS, search, alerts, filters, tags, the Long Tail, Greasemonkey, etc.)
  • The Web finally breaks free from the browser. (See Widgets, Web-enabled desktop-like applications, Mobile applications, etc.)
  • The locus of the web continues to shift towards the trends in social computing. (See blogs, podcasts, social computing, etc.)
  • Information technology evolves into Knowledge Technology
  • Web 2.0 is/becomes the societal shift that propels us from the Information Age to the Knowledge Age

  • Tomorrow: Strategy and Innovation

    TECH TALK Web 2.0+T

    Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.