From Rich Sharples, at blogs.sun.com/roller/page/sharps
“First, let me get this off my chest – I don’t like the ‘Web 2.0’ moniker – or rather I don’t like the way it has been and will increasingly be used as a marketing tag-line for countless dead-at-birth start-ups, products and services. That said – I do use the phrase (because it’s convenient) but I really use it to mean ‘the post-bubble evolution of the Internet as a platform and associated technologies’ – I’m really not trying to hype it up any more than it will be. There, I feel better.
Some time ago, I read a Wired article on the history of the Web (well at least the mainstream era – from the Netscape IPO 10 years ago) which got me thinking about what comes next. This is a subject I’ve been wanting to write about for a while and in fact this post has been sitting in the queue for a couple of months.
So, what is the ‘ Web 2.0′ ? The answer really depends on who you ask, it also depends on who you are – Web 2.0 (just as with Web 1.0) is different things to different people; to some it’s a set of intertwined standards and APIs; to others it is a platform for expression or commerce or learning and to others it’s a virtual world of Dungeons and Dragons. But basically the 2.0 bit is meant to infer ‘the next version’ – so it’s really about the evolution of the web we know today to the web of tomorrow. And I think the world evolution is an important part of the definition – fundamental to the future of the web is the part natural selection plays.
I’ve read and listened to a number of opinions and I am gradually forming my own thoughts of what the web will (or could be) be like going forward; and I’ll be refining that in the future; but here’s a start. By far the best Web 2.0 summary I’ve read is by Tim O’Reilly himself – in that article he manages to get his arms around the fundamental ‘memes’ of Web 2.0 and how it relates to the web as we know it.
One of the important differences between the Web of the 90’s and the Today’s web is it’s reach. I don’t mean just the number of nodes on the Internet or the number of web-surfer-hours but the degree to which the power of the web has become more inclusive. This is due to realization that the value is in volume (the many, not the few) – the best example is the difference between online retailers vs. brick and mortar – E-Bay and Amazon can sell you pretty much anything whereas Sears and Borders have a fairly limited stock – so the reach of online retailers is greater and this also translates to a better buying experience – with online retailers (as a collective) you are more likely to buy exactly what you want (at the price you want) than when you shop at the local mall. This Long Tail phenomenon applies equally to many other aspects of the Web – from journalism and opinion, software, news and entertainment”.