This morning, I saw what seems like a scam contest on “RIP Web 2.0″ that’s driving traffic to my blog for no apparent reason, while I am still baffled by it, the notion of “Web 2.0 is over” got me thinking.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with a blogger from the SF Bay Area at the Web 2.0 Expo recently. He proclaimed that “Web 2.0 is over and it’s time to move on.” and went on to say “It was an era and I doubt they’ll have this conference next year.”
Later that day, as I was noodling on what he said, I ran into Robert Scoble. So I asked him – Do you think Web 2.0 is over? What he said was very illuminating, “Until Best Buy puts people on its website, we’ve barely scratched the surface of Web 2.0.” You can read more of Scoble’s thoughts on his blog.
He brought up a great point, while innovators and early adopters who are focused on the technology and are clamoring to move on, one has to question if the true potential of this era has been realized.
Later on at the same conference, Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester, shared an interesting insight that he has seen companies turning off the commenting feature on their blogs. Which means that even companies who claim to be all over Web 2.0 and related social technologies aren’t ready to embrace the participation or openness that Web 2.0 purportedly is all about.
Web 2.0 is a phrase that seemed to have caught on in early 2000s O’Reilly Web 2.0 conference . According to Wikipedia,
“Tim O’Reilly states Web 2.0 is a set of economic, social, and technology trends that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Internet-a more mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects. (O’Reilly Radar,Principles and Best Practices, 2007)”
Web 2.0 has manifested itself in the form of blogs, social networks, social sharing tools, etc. but now even O’Reilly has moved on to the next Web ie. Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web. At a blogger roundtable, O’Reilly was asked by a blogger, “What is the Semantic Web?” O’Reilly got up and said “This is Tim O’Reilly” and he took off his badge, “This is Tim O’Reilly”, highlighting a more intelligent web that will be able to provide context no matter where we are on the web.
The Semantic Web isn’t a new concept, it’s about intelligence built into the web (or rather the machines underlying the web) and Tim Berners-Lee already gave us a sneak peak into the future way back in the 1990s. But it seems that the technologies and momentum to make Semantic Web part of our everyday web experience are finally available now.
So what does that mean for Web 2.0? No matter what you want to call it, one thing is for sure, we are moving towards a more intelligent web experience and that’s a good thing.
That being said, I’ll believe that Web 2.0 is over, when I see social-sharing features become as ubiquitous as the websites themselves. I’ll believe it, when companies are able to use these social technologies to harness the knowledge embedded across their global employee base and seamlessly share the data across their organizations. In other words, when the “human” element becomes more important than the underlying technologies and tools. We’re getting there, but we are not there yet. Until then, it’s just hype - Web 2.o hype replaced by Web 3.0 hype.
Btw, I confirmed with show organizers that the Web 2.0 Conference is still on for next year. Janetti Chon from the Web 2.0 said that,
“We’re definitely having a Web 2.0 Expo again, our dates for NY and SF 2010 are already confirmed.”
And no, I didn’t ask if they’re planning to change the name to Web 3.0 :)