Web Squared

Last September, the 5th annual Web 2.0 Summit was held by O’Reilly Media and Techweb, and in the lead-up to this they proposed the term “Web Squared” to refer to the way Web 2.0 has been evolving and is going to continue to evolve in future. While this term has not been embraced by the online community the way “Web 2.0” was, it’s still intereting to consider their thoughts for the future.

Dale Dougherty actually coined the term “Web 2.0” in a planning session for a conference in 2004, and this term has been in common usage ever since. The conference, organised by Dougherty and Tim O’Reilly, was looking at the dotcom crash, and examining why some companies had gone down with it, and why others were able to survive, and the conclusion they drew was that some companies were able to exploit the technology in different ways – eg Amazon, Wikipedia and eBay – because they were allowing a collective group of users  to shape the way the internet was used.  It’s hard to believe that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube didn’t exist 5 years ago, but look at the way they have altered our use of the web today!

Web 1.0 Web 2.0
DoubleClick –> Google AdSense
Ofoto –> Flickr
Akamai –> BitTorrent
mp3.com –> Napster
Britannica Online –> Wikipedia
personal websites –> blogging
evite –> upcoming.org and EVDB
domain name speculation –> search engine optimization
page views –> cost per click
screen scraping –> web services
publishing –> participation
content management systems –> wikis
directories (taxonomy) –> tagging (“folksonomy”)
stickiness –> syndication

(from Tim O’Reilly, What is Web 2.0, 2005)

“Web 2.0 is the era when people have come to realize that it’s not the software that enables the web that matters so much as the services that are delivered over the web. Web 1.0 was the era when people could think that Netscape (a software company) was the contender for the computer industry crown; Web 2.0 is the era when people are recognizing that leadership in the computer industry has passed from traditional software companies to a new kind of internet service company. The net has replaced the PC as the platform that matters, just as the PC replaced the mainframe and minicomputer” (Tim O’Reilly Aug 5, 2005)

Now, Tim O’Reilly and  Jennifer Pahika are proposing a new term to describe the exponential shift in the way the web is being used – Web Squared – which is well worth considering:

“Whereas the advent of Web 2.0 marked a profound shift in the meaning of the Web, this next phase is less a new direction than an exploration of what becomes possible when the building blocks of Web 2.0 (such as participation, collective intelligence and so on) increase by orders of magnitude.” (The Web-Squared Era)

“The Web is no longer a collection of static pages of HTML that describe something in the world. Increasingly, the Web is the world – everything and everyone in the world casts an “information shadow,” an aura of data which, when captured and processed intelligently, offers extraordinary opportunity and mind bending implications. Web Squared is our way of exploring this phenomenon and giving it a name.” (Web 2.0 2009 Summit)