My Definition of Web 2.0

There’s been a lot of buzz about "Web 2.0" lately, but I still haven’t seen a satisfying definition of just what Web 2.0 is.

Coming from the Semantic Web camp I tend to define Web 2.0 as "Web 3.0 – 1" instead of "Web 1.0 + 1" because I can clearly see what it lacks: namely semantics. But that’s coming soon. Meanwhile, for now, what is Web 2.0?

I think that Web 2.0 combines several trends:

  • AJAX: which is really just a design pattern for using existing technologies to make more dynamic Web user-interfaces, rather than a specific new technology in itself.
  • Social software: software that facilitates more communication between people and groups, either via explicit relationship formation, or implicit realtionships via trackbacks, content syndication and collaborative filtering.
  • User-created content: a new paradigm of online services in which the traditional content provider – content consumer dichotomy is flipped such that the consumers also function in the role of content providers.
  • Open content APIs and "re-mixing" whereby services allow other services to repurpose and re-mix their content with other content, creating a global content commons.
  • Dynamic content whereby services enable content to be edited after it is created by individuals (in the case of blogs), or by groups (in the case of wikis).
  • Microcontent: individual chunks of content such as blog entries, data records, photos, bookmarks, etc., are the focus, instead of monolithic portals or publications.
  • Syndication: Microcontent objects are easily syndicated via feeds into third-party outlets, and notifications are distributed directly to users who subscribe via RSS.