Friday, October 13, 2006

What is Web 2.0?

Tech, Search: I've been thinking a lot lately about this whole web 2.0 business. The phrase is everywhere, as are evidence of 2.0'ness. I thought I'd re-read Tim Oreilly's classic paper called: What is Web 2.0. Its still amazingly relevant, and seems very prescient these 13 months or so since it was published. Here are some snippets I find revealing:

It is a truism that the greatest internet success stories 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 if a site or product relies on advertising to get the word out, it isn't Web 2.0.

One of my favorite quotes of this piece:

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 constant 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.

The mind set behind Web 2.0 companies is so different. These build and deployment time descriptions seem so outrageous to software folks, but if you consider that 2.0 developers are in many ways marketers, but on a deeper application level, amongst other activities -- making widgets, and hooks that draw in users, it makes sense. Here's some more:

Cal Henderson, the lead developer of Flickr, recently revealed that they deploy new builds up to every half hour. This is clearly a radically different development model! While not all web applications are developed in as extreme a style as Flickr, almost all web applications have a development cycle that is radically unlike anything from the PC or client-server era. It is for this reason that a recent ZDnet editorial concluded that Microsoft won't be able to beat Google: "Microsoft's business model depends on everyone upgrading their computing environment every two to three years. Google's depends on everyone exploring what's new in their computing environment every day."

And finally, what is a 2.0 company:
  • Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability
  • Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them
  • Trusting users as co-developers
  • Harnessing collective intelligence
  • Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service
  • Software above the level of a single device
  • Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models

1 comment:

Santosh said...

This article explains Web2.0 in clear terms for the layman and also upcoming We2.0 entrepreneurs on how to create solutions.

I have been writing article around Web2.0 and its impact on product life cycle and also why Web2.0 is here to stay longer than Web1.0.
For your audience benefit, my blog link

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