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A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in itself) presenting Web 2.0 themes

The term "Web 2.0" (2004–present) is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design,[1] and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Examples of Web 2.0 include web-based communities, hosted services, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups, and folksonomies. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them.

The term is closely associated with Tim O'Reilly because of the O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004.[2][3] Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but rather to cumulative changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the Web. Whether Web 2.0 is qualitatively different from prior web technologies has been challenged by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, who called the term a "piece of jargon"[4] — precisely because he intended the Web to embody these values in the first place.


History: From Web 1.0 to 2.0

The term "Web 2.0" was coined in 1999 by Darcy DiNucci. In her article, "Fragmented Future," DiNucci writes:[5]

The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfulls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfulls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will [...] appear on your computer screen, [...] on your TV set [...] your car dashboard [...] your cell phone [...] hand-held game machines [...] maybe even your microwave oven.

Her use of the term deals mainly with Web design and aesthetics; she argues that the Web is "fragmenting" due to the widespread use of portable Web-ready devices. Her article is aimed at designers, reminding them to code for an ever-increasing variety of hardware. As such, her use of the term hints at – but does not directly relate to – the current uses of the term.

The term did not resurface until 2003.[6][7][8] These authors focus on the concepts currently associated with the term where, as Scott Dietzen puts it, "the Web becomes a universal, standards-based integration platform".[9]

In 2004, the term began its rise in popularity when O'Reilly Media and MediaLive hosted the first Web 2.0 conference. In their opening remarks, John Battelle and Tim O'Reilly outlined their definition of the "Web as Platform", where software applications are built upon the Web as opposed to upon the desktop. The unique aspect of this migration, they argued, is that "customers are building your business for you".[10] They argued that the activities of users generating content (in the form of ideas, text, videos, or pictures) could be "harnessed" to create value.

O'Reilly et al. contrasted Web 2.0 with what they called "Web 1.0". They associated Web 1.0 with the business models of Netscape and the Encyclopedia Britannica Online. For example,

Netscape framed "the web as platform" in terms of the old software paradigm: their flagship product was the web browser, a desktop application, and their strategy was to use their dominance in the browser market to establish a market for high-priced server products. Control over standards for displaying content and applications in the browser would, in theory, give Netscape the kind of market power enjoyed by Microsoft in the PC market. Much like the "horseless carriage" framed the automobile as an extension of the familiar, Netscape promoted a "webtop" to replace the desktop, and planned to populate that webtop with information updates and applets pushed to the webtop by information providers who would purchase Netscape servers.[11]

In short, Netscape focused on creating software, updating it on occasion, and distributing it to the end users. O'Reilly contrasted this with Google, a company which did not at the time focus on producing software, such as a browser, but instead focused on providing a service based on data. The data being the links Web page authors make between sites. Google exploits this user-generated content to offer Web search based on reputation through its "page rank" algorithm. Unlike software, which undergoes scheduled releases, such services are constantly updated, a process called "the perpetual beta".

A similar difference can be seen between the Encyclopedia Britannica Online and Wikipedia: while the Britannica relies upon experts to create articles and releases them periodically in publications, Wikipedia relies on trust in anonymous users to constantly and quickly build content. Wikipedia is not based on expertise but rather an adaptation of the open source software adage "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow", and it produces and updates articles constantly.

O'Reilly's Web 2.0 conferences have been held every year since 2004, attracting entrepreneurs, large companies, and technology reporters. In terms of the lay public, the term Web 2.0 was largely championed by bloggers and by technology journalists, culminating in the 2006 TIME magazine Person of The Year – "You".[12] That is, TIME selected the masses of users who were participating in content creation on social networks, blogs, wikis, and media sharing sites. The cover story author Lev Grossman explains:

It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

Since that time, Web 2.0 has found a place in the lexicon; the Global Language Monitor recently declared it to be the one-millionth English word.[13]


Flickr, a Web 2.0 web site that allows its users to upload and share photos

Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. They can build on the interactive facilities of "Web 1.0" to provide "Network as platform" computing, allowing users to run software-applications entirely through a browser.[3] Users can own the data on a Web 2.0 site and exercise control over that data.[3][14] These sites may have an "Architecture of participation" that encourages users to add value to the application as they use it.[2][3]

The concept of Web-as-participation-platform captures many of these characteristics. Bart Decrem, a founder and former CEO of Flock, calls Web 2.0 the "participatory Web"[15] and regards the Web-as-information-source as Web 1.0.

The impossibility of excluding group-members who don’t contribute to the provision of goods from sharing profits gives rise to the possibility that rational members will prefer to withhold their contribution of effort and free-ride on the contribution of others.[16] This requires what is sometimes called Radical Trust by the management of the website. According to Best,[17] the characteristics of Web 2.0 are: rich user experience, user participation, dynamic content, metadata, web standards and scalability. Further characteristics, such as openness, freedom[18] and collective intelligence[19] by way of user participation, can also be viewed as essential attributes of Web 2.0.

Technology overview

Web 2.0 draws together the capabilities of client- and server-side software, content syndication and the use of network protocols. Standards-oriented web browsers may use plug-ins and software extensions to handle the content and the user interactions. Web 2.0 sites provide users with information storage, creation, and dissemination capabilities that were not possible in the environment now known as "Web 1.0".

Web 2.0 websites typically include some of the following features and techniques. Andrew McAfee used the acronym SLATES to refer to them:[20]

Finding information through keyword search.
Connects information together into a meaningful information ecosystem using the model of the Web, and provides low-barrier social tools.
The ability to create and update content leads to the collaborative work of many rather than just a few web authors. In wikis, users may extend, undo and redo each other's work. In blogs, posts and the comments of individuals build up over time.
Categorization of content by users adding "tags" - short, usually one-word descriptions = to facilitate searching, without dependence on pre-made categories. Collections of tags created by many users within a single system may be referred to as "folksonomies" (i.e., folk taxonomies).
Software that makes the Web an application platform as well as a document server.
The use of syndication technology such as RSS to notify users of content changes.

While SLATES forms the basic framework of Enterprise 2.0, it does not contradict all of the higher level Web 2.0 design patterns and business models. And in this way, the new Web 2.0 report from O'Reilly is quite effective and diligent in interweaving the story of Web 2.0 with the specific aspects of Enterprise 2.0. It includes discussions of self-service IT, the long tail of enterprise IT demand, and many other consequences of the Web 2.0 era in the enterprise. The report also makes many sensible recommendations around starting small with pilot projects and measuring results, among a fairly long list. [21]

How it works

The client-side/web browser technologies typically used in Web 2.0 development are Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax), Adobe Flash and the Adobe Flex framework, and JavaScript/Ajax frameworks such as Yahoo! UI Library, Dojo Toolkit, MooTools, and jQuery. Ajax programming uses JavaScript to upload and download new data from the web server without undergoing a full page reload.

To permit the user to continue to interact with the page, communications such as data requests going to the server are separated from data coming back to the page (asynchronously). Otherwise, the user would have to routinely wait for the data to come back before they can do anything else on that page, just as a user has to wait for a page to complete the reload. This also increases overall performance of the site, as the sending of requests can complete quicker independent of blocking and queueing required to send data back to the client.

The data fetched by an Ajax request is typically formatted in XML or JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format, two widely used structured data formats. Since both of these formats are natively understood by JavaScript, a programmer can easily use them to transmit structured data in their web application. When this data is received via Ajax, the JavaScript program then uses the Document Object Model (DOM) to dynamically update the web page based on the new data, allowing for a rapid and interactive user experience. In short, using these techniques, Web designers can make their pages function like desktop applications. For example, Google Docs uses this technique to create a Web-based word processor.

Adobe Flex is another technology often used in Web 2.0 applications. Compared to JavaScript libraries like jQuery, Flex makes it easier for programmers to populate large data grids, charts, and other heavy user interactions.[22] Applications programmed in Flex, are compiled and displayed as Flash within the browser. As a widely available plugin independent of W3C (World Wide Web Consortium, the governing body of web standards and protocols), standards, Flash is capable of doing many things which are not currently possible in HTML, the language used to construct web pages. Of Flash's many capabilities, the most commonly used in Web 2.0 is its ability to play audio and video files. This has allowed for the creation of Web 2.0 sites where video media is seamlessly integrated with standard HTML.

In addition to Flash and Ajax, JavaScript/Ajax frameworks have recently become a very popular means of creating Web 2.0 sites. At their core, these frameworks do not use technology any different from JavaScript, Ajax, and the DOM. What frameworks do is smooth over inconsistencies between web browsers and extend the functionality available to developers. Many of them also come with customizable, prefabricated 'widgets' that accomplish such common tasks as picking a date from a calendar, displaying a data chart, or making a tabbed panel.

On the server side, Web 2.0 uses many of the same technologies as Web 1.0. Languages such as PHP, Ruby, ColdFusion, Perl, Python, JSP and ASP are used by developers to dynamically output data using information from files and databases. What has begun to change in Web 2.0 is the way this data is formatted. In the early days of the Internet, there was little need for different websites to communicate with each other and share data. In the new "participatory web", however, sharing data between sites has become an essential capability. To share its data with other sites, a web site must be able to generate output in machine-readable formats such as XML, RSS, and JSON. When a site's data is available in one of these formats, another website can use it to integrate a portion of that site's functionality into itself, linking the two together. When this design pattern is implemented, it ultimately leads to data that is both easier to find and more thoroughly categorized, a hallmark of the philosophy behind the Web 2.0 movement.


The popularity of the term Web 2.0, along with the increasing use of blogs, wikis, and social networking technologies, has led many in academia and business to coin a flurry of 2.0s,[23] including Library 2.0,[24] Social Work 2.0,[25] Enterprise 2.0, PR 2.0,[26] Classroom 2.0, Publishing 2.0, Medicine 2.0, Telco 2.0, Travel 2.0, Government 2.0,[27] and even Porn 2.0.[28] Many of these 2.0s refer to Web 2.0 technologies as the source of the new version in their respective disciplines and areas. For example, in the Talis white paper "Library 2.0: The Challenge of Disruptive Innovation", Paul Miller argues

Blogs, wikis and RSS are often held up as exemplary manifestations of Web 2.0. A reader of a blog or a wiki is provided with tools to add a comment or even, in the case of the wiki, to edit the content. This is what we call the Read/Write web.Talis believes that Library 2.0 means harnessing this type of participation so that libraries can benefit from increasingly rich collaborative cataloguing efforts, such as including contributions from partner libraries as well as adding rich enhancements, such as book jackets or movie files, to records from publishers and others.[29]

Here, Miller links Web 2.0 technologies and the culture of participation that they engender to the field of library science, supporting his claim that there is now a "Library 2.0". Many of the other proponents of new 2.0s mentioned here use similar methods.


Web 3.0

Not much time passed before "Web 3.0" was coined. Definitions of Web 3.0 vary greatly. Amit Agarwal states that Web 3.0 is, among other things, about the Semantic Web and personalization.[30] Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur, considers the Semantic Web an "unrealisable abstraction" and sees Web 3.0 as the return of experts and authorities to the Web. For example, he points to Bertelsman's deal with the German Wikipedia to produce an edited print version of that encyclopedia. Others still such as Manoj Sharma, an organization strategist, propose that Web 3.0 will be a completely integrated world, cradle-to-grave experience of being plugged into a dynamic brave new world.[31] CNN Money's Jessi Hempel expects Web 3.0 to emerge from new and innovative Web 2.0 services with a profitable business model.[32]

Web-based applications and desktops

Ajax has prompted the development of websites that mimic desktop applications, such as word processing, the spreadsheet, and slide-show presentation. WYSIWYG wiki sites replicate many features of PC authoring applications. In 2006 Google, Inc. acquired one of the best-known sites of this broad class, Writely.[33]

Several browser-based "operating systems" have emerged, including EyeOS[34] and YouOS.[35] Although coined as such, many of these services function less like a traditional operating system and more as an application platform. They mimic the user experience of desktop operating-systems, offering features and applications similar to a PC environment, as well as the added ability of being able to run within any modern browser. However, these operating systems do not control the hardware on the client's computer.

Numerous web-based application services appeared during the dot-com bubble of 1997–2001 and then vanished, having failed to gain a critical mass of customers. In 2005, WebEx acquired one of the better-known of these,, for $45 million.[36]

Internet applications


Advocates of "Web 2.0" may regard syndication of site content as a Web 2.0 feature, involving as it does standardized protocols, which permit end-users to make use of a site's data in another context (such as another website, a browser plugin, or a separate desktop application). Protocols which permit syndication include RSS (Really Simple Syndication — also known as "web syndication"), RDF (as in RSS 1.1), and Atom, all of them XML-based formats. Observers have started to refer to these technologies as "Web feed" as the usability of Web 2.0 evolves and the more user-friendly Feeds icon supplants the RSS icon.

Specialized protocols

Specialized protocols such as FOAF and XFN (both for social networking) extend the functionality of sites or permit end-users to interact without centralized websites.

Other protocols, like XMPP enables services to users like Services over the Messenger

Web APIs

Machine-based interaction, a common feature of Web 2.0 sites, uses two main approaches to web APIs, which allow web-based access to data and functions: REST and SOAP.

  1. REST (Representational State Transfer) web APIs use HTTP alone to interact, with XML (eXtensible Markup Language) or JSON payloads;
  2. SOAP involves POSTing more elaborate XML messages and requests to a server that may contain quite complex, but pre-defined, instructions for the server to follow.

Often servers use proprietary APIs, but standard APIs (for example, for posting to a blog or notifying a blog update) have also come into wide use. Most communications through APIs involve XML or JSON payloads.

Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is the standard way of publishing a SOAP API and there are a range of Web Service specifications.

See also EMML by the Open Mashup Alliance for enterprise mashups.


Critics of the term claim that "Web 2.0" does not represent a new version of the World Wide Web at all, but merely continues to use so-called "Web 1.0" technologies and concepts. First, techniques such as AJAX do not replace underlying protocols like HTTP, but add an additional layer of abstraction on top of them. Second, many of the ideas of Web 2.0 had already been featured in implementations on networked systems well before the term "Web 2.0" emerged., for instance, has allowed users to write reviews and consumer guides since its launch in 1995, in a form of self-publishing. Amazon also opened its API to outside developers in 2002.[37] Previous developments also came from research in computer-supported collaborative learning and computer-supported cooperative work and from established products like Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino, all phenomena which precede Web 2.0.

But perhaps the most common criticism is that the term is unclear or simply a buzzword. For example, in a podcast interview,[4] Tim Berners-Lee described the term "Web 2.0" as a "piece of jargon":

"Nobody really knows what it means...If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along."[4]

Other critics labeled Web 2.0 “a second bubble” (referring to the Dot-com bubble of circa 1995–2001), suggesting that too many Web 2.0 companies attempt to develop the same product with a lack of business models. For example, The Economist has dubbed the mid- to late-2000s focus on Web companies "Bubble 2.0".[38] Venture capitalist Josh Kopelman noted that Web 2.0 had excited only 53,651 people (the number of subscribers at that time to TechCrunch, a Weblog covering Web 2.0 startups and technology news), too few users to make them an economically viable target for consumer applications.[39] Although Bruce Sterling reports he's a fan of Web 2.0, he thinks it is now dead as a rallying concept.[40]

Critics have cited the language used to describe the hype cycle of Web 2.0[41] as an example of Techno-utopianist rhetoric.[42]

In terms of Web 2.0's social impact, critics such as Andrew Keen argue that Web 2.0 has created a cult of digital narcissism and amateurism, which undermines the notion of expertise by allowing anybody, anywhere to share – and place undue value upon – their own opinions about any subject and post any kind of content regardless of their particular talents, knowledgeability, credentials, biases or possible hidden agendas. He states that the core assumption of Web 2.0, that all opinions and user-generated content are equally valuable and relevant, is misguided and is instead "creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity: uninformed political commentary, unseemly home videos, embarrassingly amateurish music, unreadable poems, essays and novels", also stating that Wikipedia is full of "mistakes, half truths and misunderstandings".[43]


In November 2004, CMP Media applied to the USPTO for a service mark on the use of the term "WEB 2.0" for live events.[44] On the basis of this application, CMP Media sent a cease-and-desist demand to the Irish non-profit organization IT@Cork on May 24, 2006,[45] but retracted it two days later.[46] The "WEB 2.0" service mark registration passed final PTO Examining Attorney review on May 10, 2006, and was registered on June 27, 2006.[44] The European Union application (application number 004972212, which would confer unambiguous status in Ireland) remains currently pending after its filing on March 23, 2006.

See also

Application Domains


  1. ^ "Core Characteristics of Web 2.0 Services". 
  2. ^ a b Paul Graham (November 2005). "Web 2.0". Retrieved 2006-08-02. ""I first heard the phrase 'Web 2.0' in the name of the Web 2.0 conference in 2004."" 
  3. ^ a b c d Tim O'Reilly (2005-09-30). "What Is Web 2.0". O'Reilly Network. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  4. ^ a b c "DeveloperWorks Interviews: Tim Berners-Lee". 2006-07-28. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  5. ^ DiNucci, D. (1999). "Fragmented Future". Print 53 (4): 32. 
  6. ^ Idehen, Kingsley. 2003. RSS: INJAN (It's not just about news). Blog. Blog Data Space. August 21
  7. ^ Idehen, Kingsley. 2003. Jeff Bezos Comments about Web Services. Blog. Blog Data Space. September 25.
  8. ^ Knorr, Eric. 2003. The year of Web services. CIO, December 15.
  9. ^ ibid
  10. ^ O'Reilly, Tim, and John Battelle. 2004. Opening Welcome: State of the Internet Industry. In . San Francisco, CA, October 5.
  11. ^ O’Reilly, T., 2005.
  12. ^ Grossman, Lev. 2006. Person of the Year: You. December 25.
  13. ^ "'Millionth English Word' declared".
  14. ^ Dion Hinchcliffe (2006-04-02). "The State of Web 2.0". Web Services Journal. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  15. ^ Bart Decrem (2006-06-13). "Introducing Flock Beta 1". Flock official blog. Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  16. ^ Gerald Marwell and Ruth E. Ames: "Experiments on the Provision of Public Goods. I. Resources, Interest, Group Size, and the Free-Rider Problem". The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 84, No. 6 (May, 1979), pp. 1335–1360
  17. ^ Best, D., 2006. Web 2.0 Next Big Thing or Next Big Internet Bubble? Lecture Web Information Systems. Techni sche Universiteit Eindhoven.
  18. ^ Greenmeier, Larry and Gaudin, Sharon. "Amid The Rush To Web 2.0, Some Words Of Warning – Web 2.0 – InformationWeek".;jsessionid=EWRPGLVJ53OW2QSNDLPCKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=199702353&_requestid=494050. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  19. ^ O’Reilly, T., 2005. What is Web 2.0. Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software, 30, p.2005
  20. ^ McAfee, A. (2006). Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration. MIT Sloan Management review. Vol. 47, No. 3, p. 21–28.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Schick, S., 2005. I second that emotion. IT (Canada).
  24. ^ Miller, P., 2008. Library 2.0: The Challenge of Disruptive Innovation. Available at:
  25. ^ Singer, Jonathan B. (2009). The Role and Regulations for Technology in Social Work Practice and E-Therapy: Social Work 2.0. In A. R. Roberts (Ed).. New York, U.S.A.: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195369373. 
  26. ^ Breakenridge, D., 2008. PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences 1st ed., FT Press.
  27. ^ Eggers, William D. (2005). Government 2.0: Using Technology to Improve Education, Cut Red Tape, Reduce Gridlock, and Enhance Democracy. Lanham MD, U.S.A.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. ISBN 978-0742541757. 
  28. ^ Rusak, Sergey (2009). Web 2.0 Becoming An Outdated Term. Boston, MA, U.S.A.: Progressive Advertiser. 
  29. ^ Miller 10–11
  30. ^ Agarwal, Amit. "Web 3.0 concepts explained in plain English".
  31. ^ Keen, Andrew. "Web 1.0 + Web 2.0 = Web 3.0."
  32. ^ Hempel, Jessi. "Web 2.0 is so over. Welcome to Web 3.0." CNN Money.
  33. ^ "Google buys Web word-processing technology". Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  34. ^ "Can eyeOS Succeed Where Failed?". Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  35. ^ "Tech Beat Hey YouOS! – BusinessWeek". Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  36. ^ "PC World — WebEx Snaps Up".,122068-page,1/article.html. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  37. ^ Tim O'Reilly (2002-06-18). "Amazon Web Services API". O'Reilly Network. Retrieved 2006-05-27. 
  38. ^ "Bubble 2.0". The Economist. 2005-12-22. Retrieved 2006-12-20. 
  39. ^ Josh Kopelman (2006-05-11). "53,651". Redeye VC. Retrieved 2006-12-21. 
  40. ^ ""Bruce Sterling presenta il web 2.0"". "". 
  41. ^ ""Gartner 2006 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle". 
  42. ^ ""Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0", Special issue of First Monday, 13(3), 2008.". 
  43. ^ ""Thinking is so over". London. 
  44. ^ a b USPTO serial number 78322306
  45. ^ "O'Reilly and CMP Exercise Trademark on 'Web 2.0'". Slashdot. 2006-05-26. Retrieved 2006-05-27. 
  46. ^ Nathan Torkington (2006-05-26). "O'Reilly's coverage of Web 2.0 as a service mark". O'Reilly Radar. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 



Handbook of Research on Web 2.0, 3.0, and X.0: Technologies, Business, and Social Applications", San Murugesan (Editor)', Information Science Research, Hershey – New York, October 2009, ISBN 978-1-60566-384-5


Understanding Web 2.0, San Murugesan, IEEE IT Professional, 2007,

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Click here to watch the video about Web 2.0 and copyleft media (Help with Ogg video file play). This video explores Web 2.0 and copyleft licensing of media files.
Click here to download
the video. 4 minutes 24 seconds play time, 7.73 MB file size.

Welcome to the Wikiversity learning project for Web 2.0. Participants in the learning project explore tools for creating media such as digital audio files, video files, information and file sharing, social networks, and participating in the creation of internet content.


What is Web 2.0?

Key elements and connectivity of Web 1.0. Click image to enlarge. The early internet was characterized by slow internet connectivity (dialup) and few content creation opportunities for most internet users (content consumers).

During the 1990s, the World Wide Web provided a way for people to use a network of computers to efficiently exchange files. In general, content for the Web was created by a relatively small group of individuals or small "content development groups". Once created, the content (HTML pages and media files) was uploaded to servers and then downloaded by "content consumers" who used a web browser to display webpages. The average person was not involved with creation of Web content.

What is new about Web 2.0 is the gradual and continuing increase in technologies that allow more people to participate in Web content creation. These facilitating technologies include advances both at the level of the computer hardware available to most people and at the level of software that makes it easier for people to create Web content.

"Web 2.0 is both a usage and a technology paradigm. It's a collection of technologies, business strategies, and social trends. Web 2.0 is more dynamic and interactive than its predecessor, Web 1.0, letting users both access content from a Web site and contribute to it. Web 2.0 lets users keep up with a site's latest content even without visiting the actual Web page. It also lets developers easily and quickly create new Web applications that draw on data, information, or services available on the Internet."

Web 2.0 is an umbrella term encompassing several new Web technologies as outlined later. It "harnesses the Web in a more interactive and collaborative manner, emphasizing peers' social interaction and collective intelligence, and presents new opportunities for leveraging the Web and engaging its users more effectively."


  • Define Web 2.0.
  • Discover new Web 2.0 tools and applications.
  • How to apply these tools to our daily lives and jobs.
  • But also to contribute some of the knowledge gained using Web 2.0 tools in professional/personal lives.
  • Hear how others are using Web 2.0 tools, and weigh pro's/con's.
  • Become familiar with leading tools in this space.
  • Become familiar with some not so leading tools in specific categories.
  • The ability to talk intelligently about Web 2.0 and it's applications in fields relevant to us.
  • Have discipline in approaching the complexities of multiple tasks, time lines, tools, logins, URLs, in an unstructured framework.


During the past 15 years, increasing numbers of people have obtained access to computer technology and the Internet. Internet data traffic passed voice data traffic at about the turn of the century and Web traffic now greatly surpasses voice data transfer[1]. At about the same time, home internet access reached about 50% of homes in the USA. In this century, use of high-speed internet connections has increased rapidly with over 50 million U.S. residential broadband connections achieved in 2006. The emergence of smartphone technology is changing the landscape, still, of access to the Web, as people can easily carry Internet ready devices with them at all times. Smartphones comprise about 10 percent of the mobile phone market, a number that is only expected to increase in coming years.[2]


Web 2.0 is characterized by software that supports easy Web content creation in the form of blogs, wikis, digital media uploading websites, and new types of online social networking websites. Software advances make it easier for more people to participate as Web content creators. Websites where users are participants in Web content creation have brought an increasingly robust social nature to Web 2.0 that has built upon the spirit of simpler online communities that formed in the first decade of the World Wide Web. Another important trend influencing Web 2.0 is an increase in options for openness in the creation of software and the growing phenomenon of the Free Culture Movement.

Early software allowing computer network users to add content to servers

The first widely used type of software that allowed computer users to upload files to servers was software that allowed users to make use of computer programming languages running on mainframe computers. One of the first types of nonprogramming-related software that allowed users of computer networks to upload content of their own design was email software. Computer networks with email systems pre-dated the Internet, but their use only became wide-spread in combination with the Internet and the World Wide Web. See w:Web-based email.

Some of the earliest online communities grew up around "bulletin board systems". "Message board" systems that were centers of social interaction in Bulletin board systems evolved into nternet forums. Some internet forums are email-based mailing lists (example) while others function independent of email or use a mixture of email and non-email-based methods for adding "posts" to the "community discussion" (example).

One of the most influential online discussion forums has been Usenet. Two serious problems for Usenet are spam and use of Usenet servers for pornography and illegal file transfers. Some Usenet groups have moderators who screen for off-topic postings. In terms of bandwidth use, most Usenet traffic is not text-based discussion, but rather digital media files such as illegally shared software, music and movies[3]. See: w:Warez.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) provides another example of a text-based messaging system that spawned nternet-based communities pre-dating the growth of the World Wide Web in the late 1990s. With more powerful personal computers and higher speed nternet connections, voice chat and video chat have become increasingly popular. Such "live" channels for communication are useful for allowing members of nternet-based communities to communicate effectively and support community cohesion. See: Wikiversity:Chat.

In addition to online discussion systems (above), "Web 1.0" included a Web hosting service industry that provided users with server space for their own HTML pages and media files. Some web hosting companies attempted to develop a "community model" in which users with similar interests could "congregate" and interact online. One of the more famous examples is GeoCities. Geocities users could construct personal webpages and participate in topical discussion groups. Similar Web 2.0 websites host wikis (see wiki farm) and blogs.


While many "Web 1.0" online discussion systems featured message archive systems, the content of the online discussions was generally of transient relevance to the active participants. With the growth of the World Wide Web, some online discussion systems either made use of associated web pages or integrated into an HTML-based interface. A comprehensive approach to archiving Web content is the Internet Archive project, but many websites routinely exclude themselves from the archive. Even when an archive system exists for user-uploaded computer network content, the nature of email, online discussion forums and personal websites makes much of the content quickly dated and irrelevant.

Evolving technologies

Web 2.0 is characterized by hardware and software that facilitate internet content creation and sharing.

Blogs, wikis, media uploading websites, and social networking sites are four examples of newer technologies that support broader participation in the process of content creation for the internet.


Some Usenet discussion group contributors and personal website authors were among the first bloggers (see Wikipedia). Starting in the late 90s, websites and software devoted to blogging became available via the World Wide Web. In the early part of this century blogging increased in popularity and is now an integral feature of many online communities and social networking sites such as MySpace. See also blogs here at Wikiversity.


Traditionally, the ability to edit a particular webpage is severely restricted, often to just one person. Wiki technology was first used in 1995 and introduced a simple way for many people to collaboratively edit a website's webpages. Wiki websites achieve functionality as an online community by providing user pages (where participants can describe their personal interests) and an assortment of forum and discussion pages where wiki participants ("editors") can participate in community discussions. Wikipedia was started in 2001 and became widely known by 2006, particularly among school age internet users. By mid-2007 Wikipedia had become a top 10 website and as many as 6 percent of internet users make use of Wikipedia[4]. Many smaller wiki websites exist, some facilitated by Wiki farms, other wikis are run independently by individuals or organizations.

Media sharing websites

Due to low bandwidth connections (dialup) available in the early internet, image files were the dominant media file format during the 1990s. Digital audio for CDs and larger hard drives made audio files an increasingly popular file format during the 1990s. DVD use did not surpass video tape until 2003. Digital cameras and personal computers with optical disk drives became increasing common in the early years of this century. Image sharing websites such as Flickr and video sharing websites such as YouTube allow users to upload and share their pictures and video. Broadband internet, larger hard drives and faster CPUs in personal computers now allow more individuals to work with digital video files. Websites such as YouTube provide user interfaces that include support for text-based special-interest discussion groups as well as video blogs.

Social Networking websites

There are a variety of social networking websites, including Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These sites facilitate online communication through a variety of media. The interactive, interlinking environment supports the creation of personal and business webpages where information, photos and videos are shared. Social bookmarking sites, such as Delicious, allow people to organize and share their favorite links on the web and to access their own favorites from any personal computer.

Web 2.0 Research

For an overview on some of the recent research work and the resulting application on Web 2.0, refer to the


  • Find a Web 2.0 technology that you have not previously used and describe your experience on a Wikiversity page. Some ideas are:
    • Start a blog blog and post several entries each week.
    • Create and upload some digital media.
    • Create an account at a wiki website and edit or add content.
    • Join a social networking website and connect with family, friends, and/or coworkers.
  • Participate in web content creation at a project such as Where are the Joneses. Describe your experience here.
  • What data exist documenting participation in blogging, wiki editing, creation and sharing of digital media?
  • Visit 10 or more Web 2.0 sites like Flicker, Twitter, Facebook, register and place your profile. Have a system for organizing this information - perhaps starting out with a bookmarking site like Delicious can keep disorganization at bay. Consider creating one log-in that can be used at various sites. Some sites won't allow a log-in that begins with a number, so explore and share your findings with others.
  • Link 5 or more of your sites to each other.
  • Sign up to follow 5 or more friends/classmates in social networks such as Twitter, Flickr, and blogs.
  • Sign up for an RSS feed in an area of interest. Follow the feed for 3 days and write about the experience.
  • Explore an online video sharing site, such as YouTube or Google Videos. Create an account and examine the features of the site. Consider what makes this a Web 2.0 technology. Upload a video of your choice. Write about your experience here or on your blog.
  • Join a Ning network (a "do it yourself" site built from scratch to create a social network of your own) and get a feel for how it works. Explore all of the features and settings. Then start your own network and invite others to join. Be sure to include blog entries, photos, videos, links, Web 2.0 profiles, and other content. Be sure to connect to other Web 2.0 tools with your Ning network. This helps people to reach out and connect to users with the same interests, and produce a happy environment.
  • See a link you want to save, or have many links that you want to share with others? Try social bookmarking-you can store, organize, share, and network with other users. Sites like Digg, StumbleUpon,Delicious are great places to start.
  • Create a blog. Then choose three Web 2.0 tools that you haven’t used before and start using them for at least a week. Then post a link to your profile and share your experiences on your blog. If you have items you can embed such as photos, videos, or audio then embed them to your blog as well.
  • Upload photos to a photo sharing website. Then share those photos with others.
  • Create a slideshow of your photos and embed them in your blog, Ning, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
  • Use several Web 2.0 tools that are similar. Then compare and contrast their features. Which ones did you like the most? Why? Which ones did you like the least? Why? Post your experiences to your blog. Some examples of tools are:

Internet content: ownership and sharing

"Web 2.0" is a term that can be used to refer to a qualitatively new and different pattern of internet behavior: a shift from an older era of restricted and expensive technologies for creation and internet-based sharing of digital media files to a new era of increasingly accessible and inexpensive technologies. As more and more people become empowered to participate on the internet as content producers, new patterns of content ownership and sharing have come into existence. The traditional model was that expensive digital content was protected by copyright, copies were sold and derivative works were possible only via rare and expensive special licensing agreements.

An alternative approach to digital media began with the Open-source software industry. Recognizing that software innovation is promoted by making software "open" to a distributed community of developers, some software developers began to experiment with new strategies for licensing software. In 2001, Wikipedia was launched with contents licensed under the GFDL and the Creative Commons licenses began to be developed. A growing Free Culture movement supports the licensing of digital media files so as to facilitate file sharing and re-use of media for the creation of new works. In the collaborative environment of Web 2.0, sharing intellectual property, without the intermediate step of requesting permission directly from the owner, allows easier access to materials and fosters greater creativity. However, owners of intellectual property must consider whether the Free Culture Movement adds value or takes away value from their work. While some intellectual property might gain value from easier access, other intellectual property like artist's works might lose value.

Tools for digital media file creation

Wikiversity learning resources for digital media file creation and editing.

See additional links at Topic:Internet audio and video.
See also: Template:Web 2.0


  1. Long-Term Traffic Statistics
  2. [1]
  3. MPAA turns attention to USENET, takes on Torrentspy, Isohunt, others by Ryan Paul February 24, 2006 in Ars Technica.
  4. Alexa traffic data

"Understanding Web 2.0", San Murugesan, IEEE IT Professional, 2007

"Handbook of Research on Web 2.0, 3.0, and X.0: Technologies, Business, and Social Applications", San Murugesan (Editor), Information Science Research, Hershey – New York, October 2009, ISBN 978-1-60566-384-5

See also

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Web and a version number (as used in software).


Wikipedia has an article on:


Web 2.0


Web 2.0 (uncountable)

  1. (Internet) The second generation of the World Wide Web, especially the movement away from static webpages to dynamic and shareable content and social networking.

See also

Simple English

Web 2.0 (pronounced /Web 2 Point Oh/) is what people call new ways of showing or using things on the Internet.

Web 2.0 is considered beneficial because it is easy for people to publish their work, connect with other people, and exchange data.

To people who use the Internet, wikis and blogs are Web 2.0. Some think that Wikipedia is a great example of "Web 2.0". Web 2.0 is mostly about user-generated and interactive content.

Before Web 2.0, internet users could just read information on the web page. With Web 2.0, users can interact with the site and add information. In Web 1.0, the previous version, information was only written by the website author.

It builds on the Internet technologies which were in use since the inception of internet and WWW.

Many famous websites, such as Facebook and Youtube, are considered Web 2.0 Websites.


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