Monday, October 03, 2005

Missing the Web 2.0 conference

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Web 2.0 conference.

I wish I could be there -- it looks fantastic -- but I'll be off on my 10th anniversary trip, which also should be a lot of fun.

The conference sounds great, but I do find one thing a bit odd. Given that Web 2.0 is part of the conference name, it is strange that there has been such difficulty coming up with a clean definition of Web 2.0.

While much shorter than his first attempt, Tim O'Reilly's compact definition is still awkward and verbose:
Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.
There have been other definitions, focusing on broadband, RSS, small companies, and other things. Seems to me that all of these attempts are trying too hard.

I think Web 2.0 is this period of rapid innovation and experimentation. We are learning how to use the connectivity and community of the Web to help people get the information they need.

I don't think it requires using a particular UI technology like AJAX. I don't think it requires using a particular data format like RSS. I don't think it requires broadband. I don't think it requires mobile devices.

And, I don't think it requires being small. In fact, the best definition I've seen of Web 2.0 comes from one of the search giants, Google. Google wants to organize the world's information to make it helpful and useful.

They, the other search giants, and many tiny startups are all furiously innovating, trying to learn how to help people get the information they need. I think that exploration, that learning, that innovation, that is Web 2.0.

Again, I wish I could be there. Enjoy the conference! I look forward to talking to people about it afterward.

Update: See also my later post, "Joel on Web 2.0".

Update: I like this definition of Web 2.0 by Neil Gunton on Slashdot: "The whole Web 2.0 thing is just an attempt by someone to sum up the resurgence of the internet post-dot-bust of 2000."

1 comment:

Jeff Clavier said...

I was suggesting that Web 2.0 startups can start small, and still be effective, until they prove a model and then scale. And Google is a key Web 2.0 infrastructure - providing search, maps, monetization,...

Happy anniversary!