Web 2.0, the term commonly used to herald the shift from producer-related content to user-generated or user-contributed content, among many other technological leaps, has been one of the core talk points of anyone related to the digital space. With the digital sector now covering Internet and even mobile, the buzzword has given rise to connotations like ‘Telephony 2.0’ and similar others, to indicate a shift towards the next generation of technology.
The rising popularity of blogs, podcasts, wikis, social networking sites, etc. has managed to raise a lot of attention from advertisers. The numerous options that have been thrown open with these developments are immense and unaccountable.
Arguably one of the early people to define Web 2.0, Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media, Inc., explained the concept in numerous occasions with comprehensive articles citing specific features to identify a Web 2.0 website. In a compact definition in one of his online posts, he noted, “Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an ‘architecture of participation’, and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0, to deliver rich user experiences.”
In its bid to provide more clarity on this ‘Web 2.0’ phenomenon, exchange4media spoke to some of the Indian players in varied online domains to get their perspectives.
Dinesh Wadhawan, MD and CEO, Times Internet Ltd, is of the opinion that that Web 2.0 was about decentralisation, participation and openness of platforms. “It is about creating platforms which lead to easy creation of content – be it blogs, free image or video upload. Web 2.0 is about giving identity to each user,” he said.
Anupam Mittal, CMD, People Group, calls Web 2.0 as the democratisation of the Internet for the benefit of users. “As a concept, it gained momentum in 2004, and it gives a lot of power in the hands of the Internet consumer, making the World Wide Web a platform for give and take. Blogging and social networking are just two popular facets of this phenomenon characterised by decentralisation of authority and open communication. To sum it up, Web 2.0 is what truly makes the Internet ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’,” he elaborated.
For Sudipto Majumdar, CTO, Zapak.com, Web 2.0 is a buzzword created by marketers and media, and is neither a formal nor a technical standard. “Hence, there can be neither a formal nor an exhaustive definition for it. It was a term invented a few years back to loosely and broadly allude to the trend adopted by many web sites of programming their pages using a new paradigm,” he added.
Chaya Brian Carvalho, CEO and MD, bcwebwise, which is an Internet media solutions company, noted that the web was a space where users could populate content and even monetise it. “Essentially, Web 2.0 defines the Internet where users can populate content. In Web 2.0, folksonomies – also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing and social tagging, among others – will survive, and will set the pace for the future of communication. Integrating UGC, providing platforms for discussions, and opportunities where users transact between themselves is Web 2.0,” explained Carvalho.
In order to define the phenomenon, Manish Agarwal, VP-Marketing, Rediff.com, borrows from Tim O’Reilly’s definition of Web 2.0. Agarwal said, “Web 2.0 applications create a network effect by deploying an architecture of participation, by consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data in a form that allows remixing by others. It is all about diffusing control on publishing data, opening up access and allowing users to co-create and interconnect with each other.”
Noting that there is no one definition of Web 2.0, Hitesh Oberoi, COO, Naukri.com, observed, “In my opinion, Web 2.0 is a phrase that is often used to refer to the transition we see around us in the Internet space today. Websites are transitioning from being just pure destination plays to platforms, which provide services to users. This transition is also characterised by a general move towards decentralisation, sharing, collaboration and a change in the way people interact with websites and each other. Generally speaking, Web 2.0 applications are characterised by network effects, usage of technologies like ajax, and light business models built around content and services syndication from users.”
In the second part of this continuing series, players will talk about its present state of development in the country vis-à-vis the foreign markets, and the infrastructure required for it.