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Is There a Definition of Web 2.0?

A while back when Dave Gray, the founder of XPLANE, was in town he asked me how I would define Web 2.0. I suppose I hadn't thought about it before then, or I should say haven't tried to distill it down to something simple. I have seen and heard hundreds of definitions for Web 2.0 over the past year or so, and my response was to start spewing those definitions in hopes of tying them together for a conclusion. Obviously, that didn't go so well.

So, after some thought, I've decided on the following as my personal definition:

"Web 2.0" describes sites like Digg and YouTube, where the audience itself provides material for the Web site.

But, what does the rest of the internet community use as their collective definitions? Tim O'Reilly has claimed in the past that he coined the phrase "Web 2.0" - if you can coin something this generic. Here is Tim's definition, which takes five pages to distill. Five pages? Too long-winded. Give me the elevator pitch (at least let us at XPLANE distill is for you). Maybe his second approach is a little better:

"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. (This is what I've elsewhere called "harnessing collective intelligence.")"

Based on that definition, maybe the fact is that "Web 2.0", as I stated above, is inherently generic and broad. I wonder if the term "Web 3.0" will come to have a consensus definition. But, until then, what do you think Web 2.0 means? And what do you think Web 3.0 will come to mean?

Dave Gray said,

April 22, 2007 @ 10:08 am

I agree that it’s about community-generated content; the community having a conversation with itself. It’s also about the community providing tools to itself so it can make things, like applications. I think the web will parallel reality more and more, until it eventually becomes a medium that we can interact with like we interact with the real world.

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