Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a term that was introduced in 2004 and refers to the second generation of the World Wide Web. The term "2.0" comes from the software industry, where new versions of software programs are labeled with an incremental version number. Like software, the new generation of the Web includes new features and functionality that was not available in the past. However, Web 2.0 does not refer to a specific version of the Web, but rather a series of technological improvements.

Some examples of features considered to be part of Web 2.0 are listed below:

  • Blogs - also known as Web logs, these allow users to post thoughts and updates about their life on the Web.
  • Wikis - sites like Wikipedia and others enable users from around the world to add and update online content.
  • Social networking - sites like Facebook and MySpace allow users to build and customize their own profiles and communicate with friends.
  • Web applications - a broad range of new applications make it possible for users to run programs directly in a Web browser.

Web 2.0 technologies provide a level user interaction that was not available before. Websites have become much more dynamic and interconnected, producing "online communities" and making it even easier to share information on the Web. Because most Web 2.0 features are offered as free services, sites like Wikipedia and Facebook have grown at amazingly fast rates. As the sites continue to grow, more features are added, building off the technologies in place. So, while Web 2.0 may be a static label given to the new era of the Web, the actual technology continues to evolve and change.

Updated January 14, 2008

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