Posts Tagged ‘What is Web 2.0’

Reading O’Reilly and Battelle: “Web Squared” (2009) – with comments

As a web site designer-developer I want to be up-to-date on the development of the World Wide Web. People are using the buzz word “Web 2.0” – as something that will evolve into Web 3.0 soon. Well, as it turns out, it is already here. The article discussed here is available at

The article

This blog post build on a previous post on Web 2.0. The authors update the earlier article: the creation of value by users is called “crowdsourcing” nowadays. The structure of successful sites stimulates and directs the creation of value for the users, and for the owners. The structure is such that more people will create more value (bring your friends!). The authors call this “harnessing the activities of the users”.

Opportunities identified are not only to disagree with the consensus, but also to be able to identify interesting types of metadata. For instance, the metadata that Facebook generates is that of a social graph (?).

The data to be owned comes increasingly from sensors, mainly sensors in Smartphones. Examples are the: camera, microphone, GPS receiver, motion sensor, proximity sensor. Also in industry, logistics and retail (barcode at the cash register of the supermarket) a lot of data collecting is going on.

Ownership is not interesting only of sources of base data but (increasingly) of metadata. “Metadata” covers concepts as enriched data, and structure within and between (huge) data sets, among others. The structure in the data is brought about by human activities (e.g. tagging), but also by machine learning.

Services are increasingly about managing, interpreting and responding to large amounts of data, in real time. The real time component seems to be introduced by means for instant messaging.

Integration is still a major theme. Applications integrate multiple sources of information. Cooperation and not control is a major growth and development factor. (2011 update: Google drops HTML5 support for the H.264 video codec in its browser; Intellectual rights and access restrictions are considered harmful for the development of the web).

An interesting relation is the one between things (people) in the world and the data about them on the web (Information shadow on the web). Things tend to get increasingly uniquely identified on the web by the increasing amount of data on the web about it (MD: emergent identity).

The authors argue that Web 2.0 is not a version number. So, there will not be something like a Web 3.0. Rather, “Web 2.0” was their term to describe the restart after the burst of the Internet hype. Now they call it Web squared, since developments seem to increase in speed and magnitude swiftly.


This article, like its predecessor is a Must Read, especially for Internet entrepreneurs.

One may find (e.g. here) texts about semantic relations on the web, and that this phenomenon introduces Web 3.0. These semantic relations – primarily brought about by tagging, thus generating emergent semantics – seem an inherent development of existing activities on the Web.

In linguistics (at the time I read about it regularly) it was ok to distinguish between syntactical, semantic and pragmatic aspects. Pragmatism being about the effect a syntactical construct can bring about, what it can do (to you), or how you can use it to get something done. So I was wondering what would be the pragmatics of the Web. Would that then be Web 3.0, or 2WEB?

After pondering for a while on this question I concluded that “Apps” embody the pragmatism of the data available on the web. This has interesting implications: people who by Apps subject themselves to the pragmatics of the App makers. Software developers are the free citizens, since they can subject data to their pragmatics. We also see an explosive increase in the number of available Apps on the market, which will call for ways to search among them, and structure the results. Now we have move the next level up. Fascinating!


Reading O’Reilly: “What is Web 2.0” (2005)

As a web site designer-developer I want to be up-to-date on the development of the World Wide Web. People are using the buzz word “Web 2.0” – as something that would be around soon. Well, as it turns out, it is already here.

“Web 2.0” is a concept predominantly developed and brought to exploitation by Mr. Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Publishing Company) and by Mr. John Battelle. The 2005 article: “What is Web 2.0” by O’Reilly is available on the Web at I think it’s a Must Read.

The article is about “Design Patterns and Business models for the Next generation of software”. It is of particular interest for web entrepreneurs and web site creators. Why? The article analyses why and how the winners of the first generation Web companies survived and prospered. And it does so very well, to my taste. In fact the article provides a set of best practices for Web entrepreneurs and design patterns for the web sites to use. New Web entrepreneurs cannot ignore these practices, models or patterns. Doing so implies loosing the competition against companies that do take them into account, or even improve on them.

Brief summary of conclusions

Web 2.0 applies not only to the Web server-client model, but also to P2P applications. The web is not about delivering software (in releases), but about delivering services involving data.

The market doesn’t exist of a view large companies, but rather of the enormous number of small companies and individuals – Those should be reached.

People do not just consume your service, but they also create value when engaged in activities on your site. Activities motivated by some self-interest (could be just having some fun). The owner is the facilitator of these activities; the web site is the platform. The value created benefits all – both users and owners. You don’t advertise your site, Advertisement is by hearsay. Content on the web is not static, it is changing. Users of your site can subscribe to changes (made by other users). This dynamics create communities. In general, a reinforcing feedback loop should be the driver for growth of your business. On the other hand: static links between sites and user tagging of contents creates structure in the vast amounts of web data.

Successful Web companies own some kind of data. This can be basic data, or a form of data enrichment. Opportunities can be found by disagreeing with consensus; privacy doesn’t seem to be all that important to the users anymore, and the enforcement of intellectual rights ownership seems to be less strict – in certain areas, notably not in the areas of movies or music.

Software, the web site, is updated in extremely short cycles, no doubt using agile software development practices. Motive is that the delivered service should closely follow customer desires. I detect an empirical improvement cycle here, a la Lean production systems or product development. Software is characterized by being lightweight and having simple features. The service delivered by your software is likely to be reused by others. The motto here is not to control, but to cooperate. Software should target various devices, and provide Rich User Experiences.

Rounding up

My current understanding is that Web 2.0 revolves around an explosive self-induced growth of the use of your website. All you do should serve this single goal. The revenues and “raison d’être” of your web company is a side effect of this large scale use. Your site should look and feel fabulous, and should be instantly adapted in order to optimize the usability for its visitors.