October 5, 2006
What the $#@! Is Web 2.0?
Whatever it is, it’s growing fast. A new report attempts to define the vague buzzword.
A. DeMonte, Red Herring
Most Internet startups these days claim to be the next Web 2.0 hit. Some startups, confident they’ve moved one step beyond the social web, define themselves as “Web 2.1” companies. One hapless would-be visionary even claimed his plan was so grand that it was “Web 3.0.”
All of which begs the question: what the heck is Web 2.0? Non-Profit The Pew Internet Project tried to answer that question Thursday with the release of a report titled “Riding the Waves of Web 2.0: More than a buzzword, but still not easily defined.”
Coined by Dale Dougherty and made popular by O’Reilly Media in 2004, the term defined the wide umbrella of the blogs, wikis and social networking sites that made up the “participatory web.”
“That the term has enjoyed such a constant morphing of meaning and interpretation is, in many ways, the clearest sign of usefulness,” says the report, which argues there is “little consensus about where 1.0 ends and 2.0 begins.”
Web 2.0 vs. Web 1.0
The report looks at how online activity during the time known as Web 1.0 differed from that of Web 2.0, using data from market research group Hitwise to support its findings.
For example, the growth of the Kodak Easy Share gallery, an online photo-sharing site the report authors consider “traditional,” has flatlined. Meanwhile, “Web 2.0” site Photobucket made strong gains. Likewise, user-edited Wikipedia has gained ground, while Encarta is losing out.