What Does Web 2.0 Mean To You?

By eric

I have been doing a lot of reading and a lot of thinking and trying to decide what exactly Web 2.0 means. What massive advancement in an emerging technology called the internet advocates an increment in major version number?

Some people say its the looks. The new feel of the internet with crazy CSS and rounded corners and a lighter more airy feeling. I don’t think that’s it.

Some people say that its the AJAX layer that has been added to the internet. This refers to the layer of interactivity a page web page can give you. I don’t think it’s this either.

But this is a technical blog, so one might be expecting a technical answer, right? Well, it’s not always technical. In my opinion, the term Web 2.0 basically encompasses 2 ideas:

  1. Search
  2. Low barrier to entry

I heard an interesting quote a while back (that I don’t know who said it), “The internet is like a library where all the books are strewn on the floor.” This is a reference to the internet of old with lots of unindexed and unsearchable pages. Yahoo! was around, but had very little of the internet indexed. Then along came the “big bad” Google and indexed much of the web and made is massively searchable. All of a sudden, the average person could find what they need. Not only could they find what they needed, but they could also find what they want. And best of all, they could find it quickly. And human nature is always, I want what I want and I want it now.

But that’s not all that happened. The other big ticket item is that not only could the average person find what they want quickly, but they could contribute. They could contribute their knowledge to Wikipedia, their photos to Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, and Picasa, and their ideas to blogs, micro-blogs, and podcasts. And to circle back to reason number one; it’s all indexed, searchable, and easy to find. Now there are many search engines and many methods for people to share their ideas and find others who share their views and opinions.

All these ideas bring the world closer together. That, in my mind, allows a major version number bump. What does Web 2.0 mean to you? Do you think that the version number bump is premature or unwarranted?

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