WEB 2.0: Best Web 2.0? Ajax Web 2.0, Web 2.0 definition: Web 2.0 sites, Web 2.0 applications – By Web 2.0 Blog

05Oct07

What is Web 2.0? Nowadays, almost everything is “tagged” as Web 2.0. Companies, sites, ideas, etc. So, as teh old saying goes, if everything was Web 2.0,  then nothing would be Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 refers to a generation of internet applications. The ones shifting the importance from the server and the “deux ex-machina” content creator, to the end-users and their clients. Wiki tells us the phrase “Web 2.0” hints at an improved form of the World Wide Web. Technologies such as weblogs, social bookmarking, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds (and other forms of many-to-many publishing), social software, web application programming interfaces (APIs), and online web services such as eBay and Gmail provide a significant enhancement over read-only websites. Stephen Fry (actor, author and broadcaster) describes Web 2.0 as “an idea in people’s heads rather than a reality. It’s actually an idea that the reciprocity between the user and the provider is what’s emphasized. In other words, genuine interactivity if you like, simply because people can upload as well as download”. The phrase “Web 2.0” can also refer to the transition of websites from isolated information silos to interlinked computing platforms that act like software to the user. Web 2.0 also includes a social element where users generate and distribute content, often with freedom to share and re-use. The result is a rise in the economic value of the Web as users can do more online.

Earlier users of the phrase “Web 2.0” employed it as a synonym for “Semantic Web”. The combination of social-networking systems such as FOAF and XFN with the development of tag-based folksonomies, delivered through blogs and wikis, sets up a basis for a semantic web environment.

Tim O’Reilly regards Web 2.0 as business embracing the web as a platform and utilising its strengths (global audiences, for example). O’Reilly considers that Eric Schmidt’s abridged slogan, don’t fight the Internet, encompasses the essence of Web 2.0 — building applications and services around the unique features of the Internet, as opposed to building applications and expecting the Internet to suit as a platform (effectively “fighting the Internet”).
On September 30, 2005, Tim O’Reilly wrote a piece summarizing the subject. The mind-map pictured above (constructed by Markus Angermeier on November 11, 2005) sums up the memes of Web 2.0, with example-sites and services attached.
On September 30, 2005, Tim O’Reilly wrote a piece summarizing the subject. The mind-map pictured above (constructed by Markus Angermeier on November 11, 2005) sums up the memes of Web 2.0, with example-sites and services attached.

In the opening talk of the first Web 2.0 conference, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle summarized what they saw as key principles of Web 2.0 applications:

– The web as a platform
– Data as the driving force
– Network effects created by an architecture of participation
– Innovation in assembly of systems and sites composed by pulling together features from distributed, independent developers (a kind of “open source” development)
– Lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication
– The end of the software-adoption cycle (the so-called perpetual beta)
– Software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of the “Long Tail”
– Ease of picking-up by early adopters

Tim O’Reilly provided examples of companies or products that embody these principles in his description of his four levels in the hierarchy of Web 2.0-ness. Level 3 applications, the most “Web 2.0”-oriented, which could only exist on the Internet, deriving their power from the human connections and network effects that Web 2.0 makes possible, and growing in effectiveness the more people use them. O’Reilly gave as examples: eBay, craigslist, Wikipedia, del.icio.us, Skype, dodgeball and Adsense. Level 2 applications, which can operate offline but which gain advantages from going online. O’Reilly cited Flickr, which benefits from its shared photo-database and from its community-generated tag database. Level 1 applications, also available offline but which gain features online. O’Reilly pointed to Writely (now part of Google Docs & Spreadsheets) and iTunes (because of its music-store portion). Level 0 applications, which would work as well offline. O’Reilly gave the examples of MapQuest, Yahoo! Local and Google Maps. Mapping-applications using contributions from users to advantage can rank as “level 2”. Non-web applications like email, instant-messaging clients and the telephone.

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