Everyone throws around the term Web 2.0. They know about MySpace.com and Wikipedia.com because of the publicity surrounding them, but I’m convinced most of them don’t have a clear grasp on the range of technologies covered by this term.
Let’s review the web services, peer-to-peer networking, blogs, podcasts and social networks that constitute Web 2.0.
Blogs – Also known as Web logs, these sites are online journals that allow the host or blogger to post comments, text, photos, graphics and links on a regular basis. Visitors to the site often can respond by posting their own comments. There are a number of blog types: photoblogs, videoblogs, podcasts, and even online portfolios called sketchblogs.
Collaborative Tools – Many Web 2.0 tools are services that will replace desktop applications. Google has rolled out a number of them, such a Google Docs & Spreadsheets. This service allows you to store documents and spreadsheets online and to allow others access for collaborative purposes.
Collective intelligence – These are system designed to tap the collective rather than the individual for decision-making. The popular del.icio.us and flickr.com are examples of the use of collective intelligence.
Mash-ups – These combine data or content from multiple sources into an integrated experience. HousingMaps.com is an excellent example or a mashup. It takes craigslist data and plots it on Google maps to show where real estate is available for rent or to buy.
Peer-to-peer networking – Sometimes called P2P, peer-to-peer networking is a technique for efficiently sharing files either over the Internet or within a closed set of users. Files are stored on many machines, not just on one server. This speeds access to the files. An example of a peer-to-peer network is Napster, the original music-sharing system.
Podcasts – These are multimedia blogs using audio or video content instead of just text and images. Podcasts often are distributed through aggregators like iPodder, Doppler and iTunes.
RSS – Often referred to as Really Simple Syndication, RSS allows people to subscribe to online feeds of information such as news, blogs, and podcasts. Feedster.com is an aggregator that distributes a wide variety of feeds.
Social networking – This refers to systems where members may share information about their hobbies, talents or knowledge. LinkedIn.com is an example of a business-oriented social network. Gather.com is an example of a more personal one.
Wiki – Wiki is the Hawaiian word for “fast.” A wiki, such as Wikipedia, is a collaborative publishing system that allows visitors to add, remove, edit and change content.