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Web 2.0

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Web 2.0, a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media[1] in 2004, refers to a supposed second-generation of Internet-based services — such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies — that let people collaborate and share information online in previously unavailable ways. O'Reilly Media, in collaboration with MediaLive International, used the phrase as a title for a series of conferences and since then it has become a popular (though ill-defined and often criticized) buzzword amongst certain technical and marketing communities.

Introduction Edit

Alluding to the version-numbers that commonly designate software upgrades, the phrase "Web 2.0" hints at an improved form of the World Wide Web, and some people have used the term for several years..

In the opening talk of the first Web 2.0 conference, Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle summarized key principles they believed characterized 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 perpetual beta")
  • software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of The Long Tail.

Earlier users of the phrase "Web 2.0" employed it as a synonym for "semantic web," and indeed, the two concepts complement each other. 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 environment. Although the technologies and services that make up Web 2.0 lack the effectiveness of an internet in which the machines can understand and extract meaning (as proponents of the Semantic Web envision), Web 2.0 represents a step in its direction.

As used by its proponents, the phrase "Web 2.0" refers to one or more of the following:

  • The transition of websites from isolated information silos to sources of content and functionality, thus becoming computing platforms serving web applications to end users
  • A social phenomenon embracing an approach to generating and distributing Web content itself, characterized by open communication, decentralization of authority, freedom to share and re-use, and "the market as a conversation"
  • A more organized and categorized content, with a far more developed deeplinking web architecture than hithertofore
  • A shift in economic value of the Web, possibly surpassing that of the dot com boom of the late 1990s
  • A marketing-term used to differentiate new web businesses from those of the dot com boom, which due to the bust subsequently seem discredited
  • The resurgence of excitement around the implications of innovative web-applications and services that gained a lot of momentum around mid-2005


Commentators see many recently-developed concepts and technologies as contributing to Web 2.0, including weblogs, social bookmarking, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds and other forms of many-to-many publishing.

Proponents of the Web 2.0 concept say that it differs from early web development (retrospectively labeled Web 1.0) in that it moves away from static websites, the use of search engines, and surfing from one website to the next, towards a more dynamic and interactive World Wide Web. Others argue that later developments have not actually superseded the original and fundamental concepts of the WWW. Skeptics may see the term "Web 2.0" as little more than a buzzword; or they may suggest that it means whatever its proponents want it to mean in order to convince their customers, investors and the media that they have begun building something fundamentally new, rather than continuing to develop and use well-established technologies[1].

External LinksEdit

More than a buzzword, but still not easily defined] (pdf) from the Pew Internet & American Life Project[2]


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