The bursting of the dotcom bubble in the year 2001 was a defining moment in the global web industry. People believed that the web had been given far more significance than it merited, not withstanding that initial glitches are a common feature of all technological revolutions. The shakeouts in fact mark the beginning of new and innovative technology ready to replace the old and the redundant.
The concept of "Web 2.0" thus began with a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International. Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O'Reilly VP, believed that the web has not lost any importance; in fact with new and exciting applications coming up daily, it was assuming far more significance than it had in the past. The companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have several things in common and the collapse was actually a turning point for the web. In consonance with this theory, they agreed to coin a phrase known as Web 2.0 referring to proposed second generation web based services. They used this term as a title for a series of conferences resulting in the birth of the Web 2.0 Conference. It is hinted to be an upgrade over the World Wide Web and emphasizes online collaboration and sharing among users.
Although, its exact meaning is open to debate, the last and most accepted definition of Web 2.0, according to Tim O'Reilly is: "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. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them.
In their first Web 2.0 Conference, Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle summarized key principles of Web 2.0 applications as follows
- The web as a platform for web based services allowing users to use applications through a browser
- Data as the driving force – users owning and controlling data
- Network effects created through an architecture of participation and democracy
- Innovation in assembly of systems and sites is "open source" development
- Lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication
- End of the software adoption cycle
- Rich, interactive, user friendly interface based on Ajax and other similar frameworks
- Easy to pick up by early adopters
The complex and evolving technology infrastructure of Web 2.0 and the web based services includes server-software, content-syndication, messaging-protocols, standards-based browsers with plug-ins and extensions, and various client-applications. These differing but complementary approaches provide Web 2.0 with information-storage, creation, and dissemination capabilities that go beyond what the public formerly expected of web-sites.
There still exists huge controversy on the Web 2.0 and the web based services it can offer- where some believe it to be a marketing buzzword others swear by its wisdom. Whatever it might be, the Web 2.0 like several other critical concepts is flexible without a rigid boundary line.