Web 2.0

Being a bit fuzzy minded, I’ve been rather puzzled by increasing references to something called Web 2.0. I know it must be big since there was a massive conference about it somewhere in America, and conference organisers are never wrong about what the next big thing is going to be (OK, well occasionally they might be a bit misguided.)

But what is Web 2.0? Is it the new release of the software that allows me to run the Internet, I’ve got so many applications on my PC I wouldn’t be surprised. Will I be inundated with opportunities to download, will CD ROMs appear AOL like, only to be used as temporary Frisbees and environmentally unsound coasters?

Having put several solid minutes of research into this, I now feel that I’m able to speak with authority about what Web 2.0 is and how it’s going to change your life.

The term itself is relatively new, and was coined earlier this year during a meeting between O’Reilly and Associates (the computer book publisher), and MediaLive International (an event organiser), whilst looking for a marketable term for a series of conferences. Tim O’Reilly’s thoughts on the subject can be uncovered here.

In essence, as I understand it (so please don’t use this as your only source of reference), Web 2.0 is about what’s happening with the web right this moment, as it moves from the static pages that characterised the early years to embracing greater functionality capable of serving applications to end users, enhanced by giving the user more ways to interact (such as with RSS feeds, Podcasts etc), and aided by more organised content supported by a more developed deeplinking web architecture. Woo, clear as mud eh?

This is all meant to make content on the web far more valuable (funny that) with a shift in perceived values as great as that during the .com boom in the late ‘90’s.

The Economist and others have termed this Bubble 2.0, and it does seem to this humble observer that one thing the market will never run out of are experts willing to talk up new bandwagons, even if they are remarkably similar to those that collided with the real world some years back.

There has undoubtedly been a rise in the adoption of web based applications (Salesforce etc) over the last year or so, and users are demanding greater functionality from their web pages.

Whether this is a whole new paradigm shift, or simply the natural development of current trends remains to be seen. All I know is that this time I’ll keep my money in the sock draw until I’m absolutely convinced there’s a bubble a brewin’.