Monday, October 19, 2009

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is not a technology, rather it is a terminology. It means Web as a platform. A platform that brings most of the common user tasks from desktop onto the network or the web.

To be more concise, Web 2.0 is “The power of desktop on the web”. Let me give specific examples:

a. Google Docs/Spreadsheets: Place to create and share online Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations. You don’t need any software’s installed on your desktop, except for a decent web-browser like Firefox or IE. All through the power of Web.

b. Media sharing: YouTube and Meta Cafe are more popular in sharing media resources like Videos, users can now Share, Watch, Videos online, no need for a hard-disk to store videos, everything is on the web and at your finger tips. Slideshare helps users in sharing their presentations online and is very popular in the community.

c. Online File Storage: Want to save folders/files, we have BOX.NET (paid service) which gives 1GB of free space for Free users. Sky Drive is a online file share from Microsoft which gives 25GB of free space for your files/folders. You can create folders, upload files, delete them and share them too.

d. Micro-blogging is at its best these days, as we see Twitter and Yammer flourishing day by day, last month 45 million user visited Twitter. Most of the international celebrities, film stars, rock stars, individuals, businesses, communities etc have a Twitter account . Enterprises use Yammer which connects you to a specific pool of community.

e. Social Networking: Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut are three powerful examples in this space. Some organizations scan candidates based on their LinkedIn profile and peer recommendations. These sites also promote collaboration by allowing users to create Groups and Communities.

f. RSS Feeds/Aggregator: Information from many sources is collaborated using popular aggregation services like FeedBurner. It converts your data into XML and generates a feed for your website/web-application. Other /applications can subscribe to these feeds using a RSS Reader software, which is mostly plugged-in into all modern browsers.

g. Mash-Ups: A popular mash-up service is iGoogle and PageFlakes. These sites consume web services and use the power of AJAX to make user experience more seamless and less obstructive. There are little context switches as users get to see everything in one window, a typical iGoogle page can have the Weather report, Email Inbox view, Stock ticker, Digital, News & headlines, Feeds from other websites, Game widgets etc. An icing to the cake is that these services are completely personalized per user.

h. Blogs/Wikis: Popular services like Blogger, WordPress allows users to create, maintain and promote their own blogsites. Non-techie users can create blogsites in a flash and start publishing their posts. Wikipedia allows user to manage information on specific topics.

i. Social Bookmarking: Popular social bookmarking sites like Delicious, NewsGator etc manage user bookmarks and promote sharing and collaboration.

j. Maps & Directions: Google Maps is the best example, users can get directions, exact locations, distance etc all via Satellite imagery.

k. Online Shopping, E-Commerce Applications: Most popular in this category are Amazon, e-Bay etc. They track user purchases and manage user preferences too. Online Air ticket booking systems, Railway reservation systems, Payment gateways like PayPal etc are all examples of the Web 2.0.

The applications mentioned above have gradually changed the face of the Internet and how we consume services. All the applications mentioned above are examples of Rich Internet Applications and leverage Web 2.0.

We are gradually moving into Cloud Computing with Google Chrome O/S, Microsoft Azure etc. That will be a space to watch out for. It will be called as Web 3.0. May be i ll talk about Web 3.0 in some other post.

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