Yu've no doubt heard a lot of buzz aout a concept called Web 2.0 being bandied about by Silicon Valley marketers, bloggers, and pundits of all stripes. So, what is it?
A universally agreed-upon definition hasn't yet arisen. Presented with the question, programmers will launch into long-winded explanations that include terms like Ajax and Web services. Microsoft haters will say it replaces the desktop as a platform for computing. Marketers will emphasize the richness of the user experience. The digerati--technology-oriented yuppies who work in San Francisco and New York brick lofts and are as addicted to buzzwords as they are to Peet's coffee--will go on about wikis and mash-ups and memes.
Here's my plain-vanilla definition: Web 2.0 is all the Web sites out there that get their value from the actions of users. Here are some good examples:
Wikipedia An online encyclopedia written and edited (and re-edited and re-edited) by its users.
Digg A social bookmarking site where users post story links and vote for, or "digg," stories posted by others. Those with the most votes make it to the home page, so visitors to that page see only the most popular stories.
Technorati A blog search engine that ranks blogs according to how many other blogs link to them.
Flickr A site where anyone can post and share pictures, which can be browsed by anyone else with help from popularity rankings.
Frappr A mash-up, or combination of two sources of data, that lets you show the locations of the members of any group on a Google Maps map.
The takeaway: Radical innovation is alive and well on the Internet.