Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is the term given to describe a second generation of the World Wide Web that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online. Web 2.0 basically refers to the transition from static HTML Web pages to a more dynamic Web that is more organized and is based on serving Web applications to users.

How is Web 2.0 different?

Web 2.0 is an improved version of Web 1.0, the first version of the Internet. It does not refer to specific technical upgrades but to a shift in how the internet is used in the 21st century. The internet version is characterized by the change from static to dynamic (user-generated content) and the growth of social media. 

The term was previously used as a synonym for Semantic Web, but while the two are similar, they do not share precisely the same meaning.

A Web 2.0 website emphasizes user-generated content. It is characterized by greater user collaboration and interactivity, improved communication channels, and more of what Accenture calls pervasive network connectivity. Examples of Web 2.0 sites include Facebook, Wikipedia, and Twitter. These sites have transformed the way information is shared and delivered.

Other improved functionality of Web 2.0 includes open communication with an emphasis on Web-based communities and more open sharing of information. Over time Web 2.0 has been used more as a marketing term than a computer-science-based term. Blogs, wikis, and Web services are all seen as components of Web 2.0.

History and Technology Advances

The term Web 2.0 first appeared in Darcy DiNucci’s 1999 article titled “Fragmented Future.” Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media and a respected industry visionary, helped popularize the term.

Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. They can co-author the data on the site and exercise control over it. These websites have a participatory culture that encourages users to add value to them.

Web 1.0 websites only allowed site owners to modify the content and limited visitors to passive viewing. Adobe Flash, RSS, Ajax, Eclipse, JavaScript, and Microsoft Silverlight are some web technologies used to deliver web 2.0.

1.0 vs. 2.0

Web 1.0 is the first version of the Internet. It’s the “read-only web” when static pages were more common than dynamic HTML. Content came from a server’s file system instead of being served with a combination of file-based static content and dynamic content driven by a database. Examples of Web 1.0 websites include Britannica Online and mp3.com. They are static and have limited user interactivity, functionality, and flexibility.

As the Internet pivoted toward a new system, a set of next-generation Internet technologies that actively engaged users was born, built, and controlled by tools that made it easier for non-developers to create websites and online applications that behave dynamically. 2.0 websites and apps are highly social and encourage users to manipulate and interact with content in new ways. . Also, computing power is taken from the desktop to the Internet through both web apps and application servers

Key Features

  • A more personal user experience: The emphasis is on user-generated content, ease of use, and interoperability for end users.
  • Participatory culture: web users participate in content creation, updating, and sharing.
  • Software as a service: Sites use built APIs to connect with external data sources, apps, and websites in a way that’s essentially invisible for the user.
  • Transparency: There are more liberal licenses–such as Creative Commons–that allow for integration of data and reuse of software.
  • Network as a platform: The Web now provides access to applications, not just information. People can use applications without having to install software on their PCs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Web 2.0

Advantages

  • Ease of usage: Users can easily add and update information, and every edit that’s made can be tracked.
  • Better marketing: Businesses use Web 2.0 tools to streamline internal and external communication and collaboration. They can utilize technologies that enhance productivity and automate processes. 
  • More widely distributed computing power: Improved quality of education. Web 2.0 opens doorways to a wealth of information, increasing opportunities for interactivity and learning inside and outside the classroom. Educators use online materials to prepare lessons and students extend their range of learning. For example, learners can use a Web 2.0 Calc. to quickly solve math problems. 
  • Enhanced social networking. Users can interact and collaborate on different tasks through social media dialogue.

Disadvantages

  • Information overload: A lot of information is posted daily by people with different views and readers can easily get confused. Also, the quality of content is not reliable.
  • Dishonest reviews: Because everyone has the freedom to post views and comments, competitors can post negative comments about other companies
  • Fake IDs and hacking: Users can easily create fake IDs and hackers can commit crimes

Examples of Web 2.0 Tools and Sites

Web 2.0 tools and sites include social networking sites (Twitter and Facebook), video and image hosting sites (YouTube and Pinterest), and applications that generate content for business, education, and social purposes (Shopify, Wikipedia, and Instagram).

Ths story was reviewed and updated in March 2022 by Alice Muyoka.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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