Web 2.0 Goes Corporate

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 05, 2006

Yes, Web 2.0 has become a marketing buzzword for “anything that’s cool,” as venture capitalist Peter Rip puts it. But even as the term itself may be losing its meaning, I’ve been seeing the services and ideas behind Web 2.0—basically, fast, bottom-up applications that connect people—starting to get an audience in mainstream business. You can read here what I wrote about the prospects for wikis, mash-ups, social networking, and the like to flatten corporate operations.

As a “CEO’s Guide to Technology,” it’s clearly aimed at executives, so those of you who know this stuff cold may not be surprised. But we in Silicon Valley tend to forget that most of the rest of the world hasn’t even heard of Web 2.0. In a podcast, Tim O’Reilly explains the basics, and provides a little more insight into the flap over his Web 2.0 Conference partner taking out a controversial service mark on the term as applied to conferences. And in a Q&A, Ray Lane provides the VC’s view.

I did this story package even as I wonder if Web 2.0 as a term has peaked. Dave Winer, for one (and Richard McManus, for another), are sick of it. I can understand that. But I think the actual impact of Web 2.0 services is just beginning.

UPDATE: I neglected to give full credit to the folks at Cerado for the original Star Wars reference in the first paragraph of the story. A few months ago, they did a hilarious quiz that tested whether you can distinguish a Web 2.0 startup name from a Star Wars character. Check it out. Just for the record, I apparently drink too … much… Kool-Aid. But I’m afraid that’s just because I’m the only person in the world not to have seen more than one or two Star Wars movies.

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Reader Comments

Andy Brudtkuhl

June 5, 2006 12:02 PM

I also agree the term has peaked. The entire phenomenon is essentially the idea behind the technology. And that idea is being adopted across the corporate / enterprise landscape. The idea is also seeping into mainstream media outlets as distribution and aggregation of content is becoming widely used among the early majority segment.

The idea will outlast the moniker. I think we should go back to calling it the web again.

http://getanewbrowser.com/2006/03/office-20-in-a-web-20-world

Al-Noor Ramji

June 5, 2006 04:53 PM

The issue is not whether the term Web 2.0 is old and has peaked. Web 2.0 is really helping transform the web and make it useful for real people. That is people who dont worry about tech but want to collaborate and communicate with others in a very easy and simple way and to leverage the power of their friends and others.
For example we may want to just use the work that a friend has done in setting up RSS feeds to research a topic or a subject and we can now without any tech understanding use this. This I know is trivial to people who read your stuff but its a very useful feature for normal people who subscribe to press cuttings and so on.
Secondly the power of social tagging (before it gets messed up by people wanting to manipulate it) is extremely useful in many ways especially in a narrow subject range. Lots more in Web 2.0 ....

Peter Rip

June 5, 2006 07:05 PM

Rob:

You are so Web 2.0....

;-)

Matt Fausey

June 7, 2006 01:42 PM

To me, "Web 2.0" means "Application on the Web" vs. "Browsing Pages on the Web". As long as the general public is in the habit of using the browser's BACK button, they are stuck in the paradigm of Web 1.0. Perhaps the next versions of FireFox and IE should include an "Undo" button prominently next to the "Back" button. (Users of applications such as MS-Word, PhotoShop, etc. are familiar with the concept of "Undo".) The widespread adoption of Web 2.0 depends on breaking the average user's BACK-button habit. It's entirely unclear as to how that can be done. Habits are hard to break. As an example, I believe Google's dominance is in part sustained simply because the average Internet user is in the habit of typing "www.google...", myself included.

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