Web 2.0

I’ve been hearing and reading the term web 2.0 a lot recently, and have wondered every time i’ve read it…what web 2.0 actually is. Alas, wikipedia had the answers. (new window)

Basically, web 2.0 is a catchphrase name given to any new internet based ideas or changes. It’s the internet utilised to bring users a better experience. This change is often seen in more user participation and interaction with the websites, gone are the days of static pages that you simply read…bring forth sites that users can customise and update.

This change has been helped by the widespread use of broadband, new ideas and new technology, and the consumers greater use of the internet for everyday tasks, alongwith a demand for more and better products. When i first started using the internet it was simply to look at Cindy Crawford pictures when i was like 9 or 10 and giggle like a girl with my friends. Today, however, you can write documents with online word processors, share and view photos and videos which can be linked to similar items through keywords and user reviews, write blogs, do your banking, buy groceries etc etc.

Never before has technology advanced so quickly, and never before have the advances been so directly aimed at user benefits. I think this is because so many users are able to give feedback easily to companies, and because many users become suppliers due to their specific and technical knowledge. Look at how easy it is to make websites, write blogs, edit photos, etc. However, the flip side of this coin is – who controls it? Never before has their been such a vast amount of information so widely available.

Google announced, a while ago, that it plans to scan every piece of written text and publish it on the internet. Currently, there is no real means to control internet sites and what they publish. Shops can refuse a 17 year old alcohol, but Google won’t refuse a 13 year old porn – simply because they don’t know it’s a 13 year old! By the time all the information in the world can be accessed through your computer – who then has the real power. It was said long ago that the media are the true rulers, not Kings or governments – is tomorrow’s ruler the dominant firm in Silicon Valley, or your internet provider?

The web maybe bringing you and me more and better services and information, but at what cost do we enjoy this abundance of goodies – is it a bit like eating all of your Christmas chocolate and leaving no space for turkey??

Most of this post was written about a month ago, but i never finished it…hence it being slap in the middle of my Malaysian adventures!

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