Tim O'Reilly

Whatever happened to the much-hyped Web 2.0 movement now that, presumably, in the lightning fast era of the internet, we’ve moved onto Web 3.0*? Well, after stumbling across a great article on the subject written by Tim O’Reilly way back in 2005, before Facebook, TripAdvisor, Twitter and a slew of today’s hot brands, I get the feeling that while there has been enormous change in terms of companies and personnel, many of the foundation Web 2.0 principals as outlined by O’Reilly remain completely valid.

Just have a read of what he believed to be the core competencies of great Web 2.0 companies:

  1. Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people user them.
  2. Trusting users as co-developers.
  3. Harnessing collective intelligence.
  4. Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service.
  5. Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability.

So much of that is still relevant seven years later. Soome other nuggets from the piece include:

  • “It is a truism that the greatest internet success strories don’t advertise their products. Their adoption is driven by “viral marketing” – that is, recommendations propagating directly from one user to another. You can almost make the case that is a site or product relies on advertising to get the word out, it isn’t Web 2.0.”
  • “One of the key less of the Web 2.0 era is this: users add value.
  • “If an essential part of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence, turning the web into a kind of global brain, the blogosphere is the equivalent of c,onstant mental chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of our heads. It may not reflect the deep structure of the brain, which is often unconscious, but is instead the equivalent of conscious thought. And as a reflection of conscious thought and attention, the blogosphere has begun to have a powerful effect.”
  • Every significant internet application to date has been backed by a specialised database: Google’s web crawl, Yahoo’s directory (and web crawl), Amazon’s database of products, eBay’s database of products and sellers, MapQuest’s map databses, Napster’s distributed song database. Database management is a core competency of Web 2.0 companies. This fact leads to a key question: Who owns the data?

You can read the full article at: http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html

*Web 3.0 – According to Wikipedia, definitions of Web 3.0 vary greatly. “Some believe its most important features are the Semantic Web and personalization. Focusing on the computer elements, Conrad Wolfram has argued that Web 3.0 is where “the computer is generating new information”, rather than humans.”

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