Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 as “a term describing the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users.” It also quotes Tim O’Reilly (who is widely credited with coining the term Web 2.0), as saying that “ Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

Forrester Research defines Web 2.0 as “a set of technologies and applications that enable efficient interaction among people, content, and data in support of collectively fostering new businesses, technology offerings, and social structures.” (from “Global Enterprise Web 2.0 Market Forecast: 2007 To 2013″ by G. Oliver Young, dated April 21, 2008.)

The phrase Web 2.0 (which really is more of an idea than a software version) has now come to mean the new Web. In an informal sense, Web 2.0 refers to an enhanced form of the world wide web which provides a richer user experience, is more interactive, collaborative, dynamic, participative, and up-to-date. It’s not just about retrieving data anymore but also about creating data and shared knowledge often times in association with others. So users not only download or read but are able to actively upload and create/edit content.

When we speak of Web 2.0, we are speaking about particular technologies and features such as Really Simple Syndication (RSS), Weblogs (Blogs), wikis, forums, mashups, rich Internet Applications, collaborative or social tagging, podcasting, shared bookmarks, virtual team workspaces, widgets or gadgets, etc. XML, web services, AJAX, etc. are typical building blocks to enable these features of Web 2.0.

And Web 2.0 is big business! In the article quoted above from Forrester, we also read that “Enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies will grow strongly over the next five years, reaching $4.6 billion globally by 2013, with social networking, mashups, and RSS capturing the greatest share… In 2008, firms will spend $258 million on social networking tools. After blogs and wikis, mashup technology takes off next, growing from a small base of $39 million in 2007 to $682 million in 2013 — second only to social networking.”

Web 2.0 has already affected social behavior significantly and is beginning to now affect the workplace culture and the ways of doing business. There is enhanced communication because of these technologies and more collaboration between a business, its employees, partners and customers. There is increased knowledge sharing and growth in online communities of shared interests. New and exciting ways of presenting the same information are becoming available.

So even as we witness the evolution of the Web into its Web 2.0 form, we can already feel its revolutionary impact!


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