Web 2.0

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Web 2.0

An umbrella term for the second wave of the World Wide Web. Coined at a 2004 conference on the subject by media companies O'Reilly and CMP, Web 2.0 is not a specific technology; rather, it refers to two paradigm shifts. The one often touted is "user-generated content," which relates more to individuals. The second shift is "cloud computing," which deals with a company's IT operations.

Web 1.0 - The Beginning
In the mid-1990s, the Web switched from an academic service to the general public. Initially a repository of static data, the Web returned custom results to users and became much more interactive after the turn of the century.

Web 2.0 - The User Rules!
User-generated content, comprising Wikipedia, social networks, YouTube and blogs, lets everyone publish their opinions on anything to the world at large. Anyone can augment the news by reporting current events sometimes faster and with details overlooked by the professional news media.

Often amateurish and adding to our information overload, user-generated content does offer an advantage to aspiring artists, authors and musicians. Truly talented people can gain an audience more easily than they could in the past. Word of mouth via the Internet is worth a fortune in promotion (see viral post and viral video). Web 2.0 levels the playing field in all arenas just as the PC leveled the playing field in business. See Mobile 2.0, hot topics and trends, blog, wiki, social networking service, user reviews, YouTube and paradigm.

Web 2.0 - Cloud Computing
In cloud computing, data and applications are stored on Web servers, and a user has access from any computer via a Web browser. Cloud computing turns the Web into a gigantic application server that replaces locally installed applications, although both local and cloud apps are widely used together. Another facet of cloud computing relates to developers and Web publishers (see cloud computing).

Cloud services have significant impact on the type of personal computers people choose. As more software is executed from scripts embedded in Web pages, the CPU chips and operating systems become less relevant. Web browsers interpret scripts the same regardless of the hardware and software environment they reside in (most of the time, that is). See ASP, Web application, thin client and Enterprise 2.0.

What Caused Web 2.0?
Greater bandwidth and power. Faster than the costly T1 lines used in the enterprise, cable, DSL and FiOS hookups extended high-speed connections to individuals and small businesses. Browsing Web pages full of images as well as downloading huge video files have become routine. What took hours at the beginning of the Web take seconds today.

Entry-level computers became powerful enough to execute scripts in a Web page without noticeable delays. Combined with refinements in Web programming (see AJAX), the Web became a transparent extension of an individual's PC just as local area networks (LANs) extended the user's computing resources inside the enterprise throughout the 1980s and 1990s. See Web 3.0.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software." Available online at: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is- web20.html