The term Web 2.0 is being thrown around a lot these days. It sometimes stands for just about anything deemed new online. New web tools, new technologies, or new design trends are often given the moniker "Web 2.0." No doubt the term is suffering from over use. In general Web 2.0 refers to websites and web based tools that are trying to address, in one way or another, the rising need to manage our rapidly expanding access to vast sources of information, consumer products, relationships, software tools, and more. We are confronted with many choices in almost every sector of our lives. So many that we need help navigating them. Google is, of course, currently the best known tool for searching for web based information - but they are quickly applying their mission "to make all the world's information accessible" in other areas like books and video too.
Google is the mathematician's approach to organizing the world's information. But there are other approaches in development. These approaches might be described as the sociologist's approach to information processing. Such concepts as web based collaboration, social bookmarking, community tagging, and other popularity ranking mechanisms are different ways we can evaluate an ever expanding world of choices. Web based tools arising to serve this need are grouped under the term Web 2.0.
Next month, in part two of this newsletter I'll examine at a few specific sites and tools, such as wikis, swikis and blogs and the sites that organize, search and rank them. But first some background as to why these tools are rising so rapidly.