Does everything have to be Web 2.0?

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.

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