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web 2.0

Recently I got introduced to this term Web 2.0, which was coined in 2004 by O’Reilly as a result of a brainstorming session. Evidently, Web 2.0 is a sequel to Web 1.0, but what is Web 1.0 in the first place?

Web 1.0 is the World Wide Web or Internet we have known in the 90s and early 2000s; the Web that was used to post information in the form of websites which were mostly used by companies, Governments and other special interest groups; hence almost entirely drawing a one-way traffic. Of course, there were e-mails and chat programs, but that is pretty much all that represented a two-way communication.
Over the years, developers and experts have evolved a more interactive version of the Internet; a two-way, rather, an all-way traffic that has increased participation, contribution and extraction by all users alike.

Ohhh yeah, welcome to Web 2.0! The World Wid(er) Web of googles, yahoos, picasas, blogs, wikis and ebays!

According to Tim O’Reilly –
“Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

The Web 2.0 buzz which is characterized by many other buzzwords like wikis, blogs, social-networking, open-source, open-content and file-sharing, is supported by a totally new generation of Internet based techniques and languages like Java, AJAX, Flash, etc.

My post is not about digging deep into its technicalities but I would like to focus on the business points of view.

Clearly, the realization that the Internet can be a great instrument to cater to business needs has really been the pushing force for this development. Businesses always need to move with time, technology and people; its a matter of survival. They have gone hand in hand with every revolution- the newspapers, the radio, the television and the mobile technology. Now, the arrival of the 21st has posed great opportunities to explore the latest revolution, the Web.

In the early years after Y2K, businesses realized that they could not only post their company information on the Web, but also use it to seek information from people viewing their sites. This in turn can help them channel the interest from people, to interact and get a lot of first hand information about matters that can be crucial to business decision-making.

Business existence depends entirely on the needs of its market. And if the Web can not just help reach out to its market but even widen it, why not use it to the fullest? The uses of Web 2.0 are wide and the list never seems to end – advertising, networking, partnering, broadcasting, researching and so and on. What more, now, visionaries are creating excellent business models around the Web itself!

Technology developers working for businesses are literally getting into the hearts of the users to attract them to using the Internet. ‘User friendliness’ defines everything they try to do. Other forms of media are being integrated with the Web and now, one can read a newspaper, listen to the radio, watch television or read books online. The result? People are gradually getting hooked onto the Web.

Web 2.0 has very wide implications to many businesses. Take the recruiting industry, for example. It started out with a system where a prospective candidate goes to a company website to get their HR generic id and sends and email with his resume. Then came career links in company sites that accepted form data from the candidate, enabled him to upload his resume and submit the data to the company’s database that could be internally be accessed by its hiring department. Slowly, business models were developed around an external recruiting firm that catered to needs of the companies as well as candidates and created a common platform for them to match their needs. While these are still widely popular, a model based on social/business networking and referrals is being exploited in the form of networking sites like LinkedIn, Ryze, Facebook, Orkut, etc. Newspaper employment ads are being posted on the Internet too and job/recruiting blogs are also featuring Government vacancies online. A whole lot of websites provide both free and paid services for career development resources. Can it get easier than this?

In short, Web 2.0 is characterized with vast and wide-reachable audience, unstoppable competition, enormous payback and endless scope for strategizing!
Will this sequel continue? We must wait and see!

References and must reads –

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0

http://www.paulgraham.com/web20.html

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