Web 2 point eh?

There’s been an awful lot of talk about Web 2.0 lately. I’ve been reading Tim O’Reilly’s What is Web 2.0? – Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. I have to admit, maybe I’m not seeing it all. What it seems to say, in a nutshell is that things on the web have just evolved slightly, so instead of Doubleclick, we have Adsense, instead of websites, we have blogging. We had blogging in Web 1.0, though, didn’t we? Didn’t we have Adsense back then as well? Surely, there must be more to it than just that? It also talks of more permissive usage rights on the web, aka ‘some rights reserved’ with the likes of free culture licenses like Creative Commons ShareAlike – now that’s a good thing, but that’s an evolution of peoples attitudes and the availability of the licenses. It appears to actually have very to do with the web itself.
As I see it, the future of the web relies more on distribution, choice and freedom. We need to have the freedom to build things, choice of platform to build upon (no more ‘Built for IE!’) and maximum distribution, which the likes of RSS afford us pretty well. I can create a service, using web standards to distribute content with some pretty decent usage rights, automatically to your desktop. I’m not sure that putting all my photos on Flickr, or buying music from Napster, or using Ruby on Rails is going to help me any. It might be the done thing, and they’re all pretty neat (well, Napster might be neat, I can’t actually tell you.. no Mac version!) but it’s not revolutionary.
Web 2.0, as I would like to envision it, would be the semantic web – giving meaning to things on the web seems a whole load of a 2.0 feature than text ads or DRMd major label music in a proprietary format. I’m all for progress, I’m all for better websites, and beautiful apps on the web.. but these aren’t 2.0 features… they’re all being done with the same web browsers we’ve had for the last five years. I like the idea of Flock – that’s a potential nice thing, but it needs to really shine first.
I hope Web 2.0 when it comes, will put an end to the tirade of marketing buzzwords.

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