What exactly is Web 2.0?

The expression “Web 2.0” is much in vogue and I am as guilty as anyone in bandying the 2.0 tag about. But what’s it all about?

One of the more helpful explanations of Web 2.0 I have come across is on the Web2.0 for Lawyers public wiki which showcases the potential and promise of emerging Web 2.0 ideas for lawyers.

Web 2.0 represents a new generation of social, collaborative, participative services emerging on the Internet … a new methodology for information sharing and knowledge creation.

Stop there if you’ve no interest in things technical.

The page goes on to explain that the technological drivers of Web 2.0 are (definitions added):

  • RSS (Remote Site Syndication, a family of web data feed formats used to syndicate frequently updated digital content, such as blog posts and news stories) and
  • web service programming via Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, a web development technique for creating interactive web applications) and
  • APIs (application programming interfaces, source code interfaces that computer systems or program libraries provide to support requests for services made of them by other computer programs)

Are you still with me?

Key elements of Web 2.0 are:

  • The Web and its connected devices as a global platform for reusable services and data
  • Data consumption and remixing from many sources, particularly user generated data
  • Continuous and seamless updates of software and data, often very rapidly
  • Rich and interactive user interfaces
  • Architecture based upon participation that encourages user contribution

The site also includes a useful list of Web 2.0 resources for lawyers.