Last night, I was at a dinner, where one of the topics of discussion was Web 2.0. More appropriately, what is Web 2.0? It is a damn fine question, and difficult one to answer. D. Keith Robinson writes, “Depending on who’s using the term, you could […]

Last night, I was at a dinner, where one of the topics of discussion was Web 2.0. More appropriately, what is Web 2.0? It is a damn fine question, and difficult one to answer. D. Keith Robinson writes, “Depending on who’s using the term, you could be talking about the Web as a platform for applications, a philosophy in building and designing Web applications, a group of powerful Web technologies, and much more.” Mark Sigal says, “At the core, it is an applied web service model that blurs the line between software and service.”

Dave Winer says, “Web 2.0 is a marketing concept used by venture capitalists and conference promoters to try to call another bubble into existence.” Richard McManus has his own take here.

From my perspective, I define Web 2.0 as 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.” Clearly, Web 2.0 is different and many things to many people. What is your definition? How do you view it? Curious to find out, especially before next week’s Web 2.0 conference.


  1. what does voip has to do with web2.0? if it is your personal niche and you are interested in it, then fine, but let’s not bundle the whole world into “web 2.0″.

    enough is enough.

  2. That’s a great question. I tend to lean towards the concept of it leveraging and extending internet technologies more efficiently and intelligently. Our Open Source CMS (see my link on my name) is a perfect example of this. As is VOIP. :)

  3. I agree with Dave Winer , Web 2.0 is just a clever marketing hype!.

    I bet most of the so called web 2.0 startups (including the likes of del.icio.us) will never get out of the geek crowd into mainstreem use !

  4. anon … actually the whole concept of click to call, or treating voip as an application that can be built into pretty much anything using voicexml was the reason why i included voip. “the consumer voip” is something which i wasn’t hinting at.

  5. gopi, you might have something there ;-)

  6. Can’t really argue with Dave, but I would agree with Ross Mayfield, who said recently (and simply): Web 2.0 is about people.

    More specifically, it’s about people interacting with the Web and other people on it, and creating something out of that interaction. Clearly, definition creep has hit this term (earlier arguments sampled here: http://blogs.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2005/08/web_20_whats_in.html), but Ian Davis at the end of the post nailed it: “Web 2.0 is an attitude not a technology. It’s about enabling and encouraging participation through open applications and services.”

  7. I entirely agree Gobi…isn’t Web 2.0 errierly similar to dotbomb? we all know how this story ends!

    it’s so sad to see smart people continue to fall in line all for the mighty dollar.

    don’t discount open source, AJAX, RSS, and so on but i’m damn certain things progress just like they did in the past.

    1 out 100 sticks…not the other way around.

    isn’t it funny how popular rss is when we had pointcasts 10 years ago?

    how about podcasts? last time i checked an mp3 file with someone talking on it was old news. another 10 year old story.

  8. I think Web 2.0 can be better defined in reference to what “Web 1.0″ was. In what I’ll call Web 1.0 the goal was to get as much raw information onto the web as possible. Everyone had to have a web presence and most of those sites consisted of just raw information.

    Web 2.0 is about putting this information resource to work. This generally means web based applications/services that take advantage of raw data often from several sources to turn aggrate data into more than the sum of it’s parts.

    Web 1.0 is still an ongoing project. More raw data is being added to the internet all the time. Web 2.0 began for some a long time ago. Now that everyone is catching up we slapped a name on it.

  9. I would definitely agree with Nick Murphy (2:40PM) that Web 2.0 is in part about aggregation, manipulation, and presentation of readily available data and information. Companies like Google have provided fodder for innovation with their web search, map services, and blog search. The innovators of the late 90’s harnessed the newly found power of the internet by devleoping applications for e-commerce, collaboration, and information sharing . As many of the “killer apps” in those spaces have been developed brought to the masses, the new innovators have gone on to stand on the shoulders of the previous generation by utilizing the informational infrastructure put in place by Web 1.0 to provide value added services and products.

    As an example, my company, Blogniscient, has developed and launched (currently in beta) a product/site which categorizes and ranks content from blogs. There is a massive amount of interesting and valuable information available within the Blogosphere. Companies like Technorati and Google have provided access to this information through search. Search works well if you know what you are looking for, but many times people just want to browse and see what is being talked aobut (e.g. Watching CNN vs. using google). Blogniscient uses its Article Ranking System to continuously catalog and rank blog content in order to present to the user the information within the Blogosphere which is currently having the greatest impact. This allows the user to get a 30,000 foot view of what the latest buzz within the Blogosphere is and then drill down where there interest is piqued.

    Blogniscient can be found at http://www.blogniscient.com/

    In addition, people reading this site might find the Technology portion of Blogniscient particularly interesting http://www.blogniscient.com/scitech_main.html

    Please check it out and feel free to email us and let us know what you think (positive or negative). We are in beta mode and actively seeking feedback from the community.

  10. With some of the debate about what Web 2.0 is or isn’t, I also was thinking about the conference (which I’m attending) next week. After reading this post, I went off to my own blog and looked at all my posts that I tagged with “Web 2.0″: http://borsch.typepad.com/ctd/web_20/index.html

    Pretty eclectic bunch of posts. Is it a pipe? Yep. A set of enabling technologies? Yep. Applications? Check. How about interoperability (i.e., web services). Oh yeah.

    The analogies to a PC or even distributed enterprise I.T. (processing; messaging bus; I/O; applications; communications) is clear. That can only lead to one conclusion: the internet *is* a platform upon which applications are built as well as services (and the line between applications and services — whether on the desktop or within the enterprise — are blurring).

    The differentiator of Web 2.0 (vs. 1.0) is that humans en masse are infusing our collective consciousness in to the usage of this platform and its applications/services. In addition, critical mass of use of the always on internet has been achieved and the building blocks of a platform are in place.


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