Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
I agree with Ian's point, and can see that it's going to be interesting working with him. Also, it looks as if we'll have plenty to discuss on the depressingly long flight toSan Franciscoin October (other than whether to have chicken or whatever the other meal is)...
Tim Bray'soriginal poststrikes me as pedantic (not always a bad thing) and, as others have pointed out, we could argue version numbers and increments for a very long time. It probably doesn't actually matter very much. The important point that 'Web 2.0' tries to encapsulate is that we're on the cusp of something new and significantly different. Andthatis surely true. However, the relative unimportance of Tim's original post aside, some of the issues that it has brought to the surface are important and worthy of further exploration.
In helping me to understand some of the arguments, I thought a little about what Web 2.0 means to me. My ideas will clearly crystalize once it becomes part of my job to think more closely about such things, and most of what I think Web 2.0 is about is distilled from thecontributionsofothersto theongoingdebate, but at the moment Web 2.0 means the following to me:
Web 2.0 presages afreeing of data, allowing it to be exposed, discovered and manipulated in a variety of ways distinct from the purpose of the application originally used to gain access. Ian's attitudinal point is important here, as there is no need for some new Web 2.0technologyin order for the previously locked away to be made public. Some of the work atbackstage.bbc.co.ukis relevant here, and theBBCis to be commended for taking the step they did.
Web 2.0permits the building of virtual applications, drawing data and functionality from a number of different sources as appropriate. These applications tend to be small, they tend to be relatively rapid to deploy, and they bring power that was previously the preserve of corporations within the reach of suitably motivated individuals. Richard Wallis' work withGoogle Maps, some of which is exposed in a proof of concept calledLibMap, is one example of the way in which data (from Talis'SilkwormDirectory) and functionality (courtesy of Google Maps'API) can build new applications beyond the reach of either on their own.
Web 2.0 isparticipative. The traditional web has tended to be somewhat one-sided, with a flow of content from provider to viewer.Figures from the Pewlast year suggested that 44% of internet-using American adults had actively participated online, by blogging, sharing files, or equivalent. With Web 2.0, that percentage will rise, and participation will become a more pervasive aspect of our online lives.
Web 2.0 applicationswork for the user, and are able to locate and assemble content that meetsourneeds as users, rather than forcing us to conform to the paths laid out for us by content owners or their intermediaries. For example, I should be able to seeallsensible routings from my home to San Francisco, not just those that one airline (bmi), one airline group (Star Alliance), or one travel agent (Expedia) wish to sell me.
Web 2.0 applications aremodular, with developers and users able to pick and choose from a set of interoperating components in order to build something that meets their needs.
Web 2.0 is aboutsharing; code, content, ideas. That doesn't mean there isn't money to be made. There is, but new business models need to be found whereby we collaborate on the platform(s) and make money by adding value over and above that which we and others have built together.
Web 2.0 is aboutcommunicationandfacilitating community. People communicate. The web facilitated that to a degree, but presented a barrier that hindered the back-and-forth of true communication. Trackbacks and the like are a shaky step towards restoring the flow.
Web 2.0 is aboutremix. For too long, we've jumped from one area of the web to another, struggling with different interfaces, ignoring endless ads, and wading through uninteresting content on a site in order to locate the service, document, or snippet that meets our needs. Increasingly, we can unambiguously reference and call upon the service, document or snippet that we require, incorporating it into something new that is both ours and the original contributors'.
Web 2.0 issmart. Applications will be able to use knowledge of us, where we've been and what we're doing to deliver services that meet our needs. Amazon's recommendation engines are only the beginning, and there is more work to be done allaying fears of intrusion and loss of privacy. Amazon has data, libraries have data.Everyonehas data. There is real potential to do some wonderful things with it, provided that appropriate safeguards are developed and implemented. 'Smart' spam is still spam.
Is this too much meaning for one little term (Web 2.0) to encompass?
And is there a danger, if Web 2.0 sticks, that we get the marketing departments of Microsoft, Yahoo!et alushering in every new thing they do as Web 3.0, Web 4.0, etc...?