“Now with 40% more.” “Now with more blog posts.” “Now with more widgets.” It is almost a wonder we haven’t seen these types of claims when it comes to Web 2.0. Version 2.0 of anything is usually better than Version 1.0. So why the confusion on what exactly is so new and improved with Web 2.0?
Much of this may be due to the fact that with operating system updates or new versions of software, the interface and even the functionality dramatically change. Thus many users probably expect more from Web 2.0, but in fact the Web of 2008 doesn’t look all that different from the Web of 1998. With the Web the browsers may have evolved and sites may refresh their design, but things look more or less as they always did. However, behind the scenes – or at least behind the code of Web 2.0 – a major revolution has gone on and Web 2.0 is in fact very much new and improved.
Are you ready for Web 2.0? Chances are you’re already using it. If you use any social networking site, read blogs, or share documents via Google, you’re part of the Web 2.0 experience.
Today, nearly 50 percent of small and medium businesses in the U.S. are already using Web 2.0 applications, and this despite what the study says is still a lack of distinctive definition for the platform. The very phrase “Web 2.0” was reportedly coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004, referring to second-generation Web-based services.
These include social networking and communication tools that weren’t possible previously. One definition that has become accepted is that Web 2.0 allows a site to do something that couldn’t be done in other mediums. But it is also clearly a way for companies to spend less as well.
These solutions have allowed small businesses to take advantage of technology and solutions that may otherwise have cost them a lot more money. Web 2.0 has also further allowed for rich Internet applications such as Ajax, Flash and OpenLaszlo to improve the experience within the browser. More importantly, these technologies can allow for an update of parts of the content without needing to refresh the whole page.
In the past Web sites have been a very static source of information, but today a small business can obtain information from multiple sources. Users can even go to a single source that collects news from all over the Web and present it with continual updates. Without the technologies behind Web 2.0 we couldn’t have Wikis, Mashups or even blogs, such as this one you are reading. Simply put we’d have Web 1.0.
And for small and medium businesses, Web 2.0 can also mean increased productivity thanks to Webtops such as Writerly, and Web office applications including Google Doc and Google Calendar – both of which are changing the way mobile users work. These Web-based tools allow very small businesses to accomplish the same things that a paid, packaged solution would, but for free. And because these are Web-based solutions, collaboration can occur from users anywhere simultaneously.