What Exactly Is Web 2.0? An Introduction

When the internet first launched in 1969, it was a far different beast from that which its users know it as today. As opposed to the huge information resource center that it now is, the web from that was created almost forty years ago was part of an American program for space research called ARPA, or Advanced Research Projects Agency. When NASA was formed, ARPA moved away from space and air flight and concentrated on computers.

As part of their research, a framework to connect all their computers was established, called ARPAnet, and thus the internet was born. Jump forward thirteen years, and a whole host of web servers are now live. Not only does this cause problems trying to connect all the different time zones and languages, it leads to conflicting hardware, meaning some computers simply refuse to talk to each other. Therefore, a standard had to be agreed. This happened in 1982, when TCP/IP became the standard communication tool. Standing for Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, it’s the universal language worldwide for the internet and has been for the last twenty years plus.

Now, however, the internet is changing. Whereas before you might look up information on a new album or film, the explosion in popularity of digital downloading for these very same media formats mean that the information is in physical form as opposed to someone just writing about it. Social networking is the new buzzword – from MySpace to Facebook and beyond, the internet is THE place to catch up with old friends, let everyone know what you’re doing, share your music with a potential audience of billions – the potential is endless. And this is where the new Web 2.0 comes in.

More an evolution than revolution, Web 2.0 is not being touted as a complete replacement for the existing internet features; it’s more an extensive upgrade. Allowing users to communicate better with each other, Web 2.0 is seen as the next logical step in the internet, and allows far more user participation than just looking at web pages. Now you can link all your social network sites like Facebook and MySpace, and use them to promote your own music, ideas or products.

Web 2.0 is looking to strengthen the power that the normal, everyday web surfer has at their fingertips. Instead of just big business and corporate companies having access to the latest technology and resources, sites like eBay, craigslist, Skype and AdSense, to name just a few, are letting anybody and everybody use the power and ease of use of the internet to get any message they want across, or to buy and sell goods, or have a voice conversation between two computers. This is the true beauty of Web 2.0, and one of many reasons that people are getting excited.