Friday, May 18, 2007

What is Web 2.0?

A client just asked for help understanding Web 2.0 on the Q & A forum at
Since space is limited there, here's the concept:

Web 2.0 is a new wave beyond static web pages delivering info on your screen. The 2.0 implies a new generation, just as software that moves from version 1 to 2.

What's different is that information can be readily shared, accessed from anywhere, and massive storage space is free. It includes simple, and even free, tools and applications, like Picasa for photo management. The broader concept is: "web-based software services" that encourage users to become more involved with information.

Web 2.0 start-ups received $844 million in venture capital during 2006, double the prior year, according to VentureOne.

Web 2.0 is moving into "mashups," merging ideas such as adding Google Maps to Craig's List. If someone searches for an apartment on Nob Hill, they can click the map to view the actual neighborhood and street.

Web 2.0 uses new technology that goes far beyond HTML, like AJAX, RSS and XML.

It remains to be seen if this is a new way for the me-me-me generation to waste time, or whether companies can make it work for communication and interactive meetings, giving people a base station to launch their life online.

TIP: When you see a word you're unfamiliar with, look it up at
When you're mystified by acronyms, use

Could Google become the "New Coke?"

Google got to the top of the ephemeral search heap by focusing on gathering more information than anyone else, using search algorithms to produce query results and creating a design that gave users more white space than jut about any other web site. Not revolutionary, but effective and efficient.

Now, Google is beginning to stray. Like New Coke, they're tampering with a core product and losing the fizz. Or McDonald's, with a winning formula for burgers, now saying: "You want salad? We've got salad." "Steak, chicken, ice cream? Come on in." So it loses its uniqueness, differentiation and becomes a confusing choice, whether we're talking media or meat.

I'm sure you've noticed the web, or now Web 2.0 (see next article), is merging media, like TV, radio, newspapers, with video, music, and info-bits from random sources. Google is now testing its famous search function doctored up to add all that plus timelines, photo galleries,

Saying the old model of searching is, well, old, Google is launching the first major change ever for the multi-billion dollar search company. The new "Universal Search" model looks like the mega-storm of junk you can find elsewhere: Images, video clips, news from elsewhere, book content, maps and, of course, web sites, which is what people are looking for when they search Google.

So deep is the promised change, users will have to learn to navigate a new Google homepage and wander past ads for other Google products. Or maybe not - Maybe Google will no longer be a web user's first stop when they're hungry for information and short on time. Hmmm, isn't that the same problem McDonald's has?

If used well for serious research, Google is like magic. But, they're "fiddling with the magic," says ZDNet's digital blogger, Donna Bogatin.

While waiting for New Google, remember offers clustered results down the left rail of the screen, sub-dividing search results into categories. No need to waste time elsewhere, sorting through the fast-food menu that used to be Google.