Web 2.0 might have jumped the shark – that is not exactly what Peter Rip says, but that is the essence of his argument: Web 2.0 has gone mainstream, and the innovation around it is scuffling. The personal anecdote Rip retells is pretty amusing. Much of […]

Web 2.0 might have jumped the shark – that is not exactly what Peter Rip says, but that is the essence of his argument: Web 2.0 has gone mainstream, and the innovation around it is scuffling. The personal anecdote Rip retells is pretty amusing.

Much of the “easy” innovation seems to have been wrung out of the Web 2.0 wave. Web 2.0 was cheap – thanks to open source, simple – thanks to RSS/REST, and distinctive – thanks to AJAX and Flash.

Now the hard work begins, again. The next wave of innovation isn’t going to be as easy. Now the hard part is moving from Web-as-Digital-Printing-Press to true Web-as-Platform. To make the Web a platform there has to a level of of content and services interoperability that really doesn’t exist today.

It is difficult to disagree with him, because frankly the much overused marketing term (Web 2.0) has become a bit of a millstone around what is happening in the technology world. To retrofit everything into the Web 2.0 bucket is something just doesn’t make sense.

Take for example, GrandCentral, a VoIP application that aggregates many different phone numbers – cellphones, landlines, VoIP digits and office phones – and replaces them with a single number. Over the weekend, Tim O’Reilly, called the Web 2.0 Address Book.

There is nothing Web 2.0 about it. Not even according to Tim’s original Web 2.0 manifesto which completely overlooked how the world of Voice was changing. (If there was an update, I missed that!) Grandcentral, to some, like me, is a useful application, one that marries the web and the voice worlds nicely.

Others don’t really care for it, and they have their reasons. Maybe it is time to just put a fork in it, and stop calling everything Web 2.0. Lets just settle on an old fashioned word: innovation. Paul Kedrosky says it best when he writes:

It’s long past time to move on folks. While the media, advertising, and technology transformations continue apace, let’s just call them what they are and leave the marketing mumbo-jumbo to others.

Disclosure: GrandCentral were co-sponsors of a cocktail party that followed the ETel/GigaOm Launchpad event held last month.

Update: Valleywag says Alexa errors are the reason behind the drop in traffic stats as shown by Alexa, and that is why Rip’s argument might be doubtful. I find issue with the numbers, not with his general analysis and thesis – which is spot on, and was part of a bigger post that never got done.

By Om Malik

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  1. Om – if you really want to pop the ‘web 2.0′ buzzword bubble, pay no attention to it. Making a blog post saying so will only do the opposite and extend the lifespan. You’ve probably introduced several new GigaOm readers to web 2.0 through this post alone.

    No one I know in the off-line world has heard of web 2.0, and until they have, we need to remember it’s only the blogosphere that has become saturated with the buzzword.

  2. Grand Central is definitely a Web 2.0 service, simply because it provides functionality that couldn’t be done without the power of networking, and it intrinsically increases in value with the number of its users.

    The problem with Web 2.0 is that many people simply cannot understand Tim’s definition, because it’s, well, not that simple to understand. But it doesn’t mean it’s a phenomenon that cannot be defined or understood.

  3. Om, you raise a great question. I believe that when many people look at sites, they have a Web 2.0 feel. We all know what this ‘feel’ is – as many sites share the same vibe. I believe that Web 2.0 is used loosely around this association.

  4. [...] GigaOM » Does everything have to be Web 2.0? [...]

  5. Om, you are bang on target. Grand Central is not Web 2.0 in any sense. Even I was surprised when Tim O’Reilly termed it as “Web 2.0 Address Book in making”. I also wrote a similar post yesterday reacting to Tim’s comment.

    You might wish to have a look at my post by clicking the link below.


  6. The end of Web 2.0 part II…

    We blogged last week that we felt that FOWA 07 was the High Watermark of the Web 2.0 movement – or the hype at least – seems this is occurring to other people as well now – Here at Crosslink, and Jeff Clavier

    A month or so ago, Andrew Orlowski of t…

  7. Web 2.0 was created by a few people to sell conference spots and to give tech writers something to talk about. Frankly, I like the term Innovation you use. That is all this is.

    This is not some great revolution to rival what happened in France several hundred years ago.


  8. I think that as the medium matures, it makes more sense to look at various trends as aesthetic distinctions instead of technological ones. For example, look at film. Throughout the past 100 years there have been constant advances in technology. However, we classify movies by their aesthetic and narrative goals (noir, horror, comedy, surrealism, Dogme, etc). Even though the Web’s technological capabilities are developing rapidly, in the future it will be aesthetics and mission that define it, not technology.

  9. [...] it is indeed time to put a fork in it – as Om Malik so beautifully states – and stop calling everything web 2.0. Web 2.0 and innovation are not the same anymore. Paul [...]

  10. Innovation, not current technology, is key.

    Usage of “Web 2.0″ is just like “.com” in olden days. The important thing is that a connected world is a paradigm that changes everything. We will be in a world where EVERYTHING is done over the web, and not on the PC.

    Already, technology enables the
    “experience-expression continuum” to blur – and for “YOU” to become the center of the Internet. Maybe the next generation web innovation should be named “You-Centric”.


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