Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a buzzword you’ve probably heard in recent years. The phrase has its roots in programming. Often software is released in versions. So an early release might be called Software .5. The next release might be .6, and so on. The first official release is usually 1.0. Any updates would then be 1.1, or 1.2.1, etc. Usually when the software has gone through a major change, it’s called 2.0. This signifies a large leap from the 1.X releases.

So what exactly does Web 2.0 mean? Well, it helps to understand Web 2.0 by understanding Web 1.0. Web 1.0 was the explosion of the internet. It involved the creation of a ton of really cool stuff on the web. It consisted of businesses getting websites up, organizations digitizing pictures and text and putting them online, and regular people starting random web pages.

As more and more content was created, it became harder and harder to see it all. Search engines tried to help, but sometimes it was difficult to find the best fit. How is a computer supposed to know what it is you’re really looking for? Remember, the Internet wasn’t organized by a business or by a government. It just happened. There was no Dewey decimal system.

Then a little search engine called Google started doing things differently. What made them special? Well, they used people to help improve their search engine. If a lot of people were pointing to a single site, then that site must be interesting or useful, right? So if I did a search for squid, Google would push the most linked-to sites to the top of their search results. This notion of using human intelligence to help sort things was revolutionary.

So while Web 1.0 focused on the content, Web 2.0 focuses on relationships between individuals. It is kind of like trying to decide which movie to see. You may have watched all the trailers, but if a close friend tells you, “You have got to see XYZ”, then you have more information that will help you reach a decision.

So the internet moved away from just being content on a screen, and became social—people finding people, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects.

Examples of Web 2.0 sites include:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Wikipedia
  • Blog sites
  • Flickr
  • MySpace

Sources Image courtesy of Scott Beale / laughingsquid.com

Last modified: Thursday, 14 June 2012, 4:20 PM