Business 2.0 picks 25 Web 2.0 companies.
We are in the early stages of what might be better thought of as the Next Net. The Next Net will encompass all digital devices, from PC to cell phone to television. Its defining characteristics include the ability to interact instantaneously with any of the more than 1 billion Web users across the globe — not by, say, instant messaging, but by evolving instant-voice-messaging and instant-video-messaging apps that will make today’s e-mail and IM seem crude.
The Next Net is deeply collaborative: People from across the planet can work together on the same task, and products or tools can be rapidly tweaked and improved by the collective wisdom of the entire online world.
The new era is also creating a realm of endless mix and match: Anyone with a browser can access vast stores of information, mash it up, and serve it in new ways, to a few people or a few hundred million.
Most striking, the Next Net creates endless possibilities for entrepreneurs and established players alike to take advantage of the Web’s new power. They are building on the success of early standard-bearers — Flickr, MySpace, Wikipedia — but also moving beyond those pioneers in creative and fascinating ways.