What is Web 2.0 ?

In an article published by Tim O'Reilly in 2005 certain key points regarding the nature of Web 2.0 were made. While there is no clear-cut definition of Web 2.0, and the term has often been bandied about as a buzz-word, we "can visualize Web 2.0 as a set of principles and practices."

The Web as Platform

Web 2.0 entails more of a change in attitude to the web rather than a radical change in the technology of the web. The key is in the change in the relationship of the user to the web and in the kind of experience the user can expect to have.


The user is in control of his own data. The entry point to any web application is customizable based on preferences set by the user. The user is part of a larger community of users and his experience of a web application will be social in nature since the information he is seeking is contributed by other users. Blogging can be thought of more globally as a form of participation rather than simply self-publishing. The user's public face in the web community can be defined in an application such as FaceBook or MySpace.

Rich User Experiences

Web pages are more and more dynamic, displaying data updated in real-time. Ajax allows updating of content within web pages without having to reload the entire page. Google maps and other Ajax-driven web sites pave the way. The user can create "mash-ups" of Google maps and customized searches, visually displaying specialized data that others may want to share.

User As Contributor

A collective of contributors can now create an encyclopedia together such as Wikipedia, or create huge repositories of photographic images with Flickr, or video with YouTube.

Harnessing Collective Intelligence

As users tag the results of their searches on del.icio.us, a more meaningful kind of search begins to develop based on the opinions and categorizations of thousands of other users and not simply based on hit rankings. Visual conceptualization tools such as tag clouds become common place.