Web 2.0 is the form of technology that we are all the most familiar with. Technology that we grew up with, and the technology we know and love. Web 2.0 was first coined in 1999 when the internet progressed into a system of information sharing and actively engaging its users. The only difference between Web 1.0 and 2.0 was that this form of the internet allowed people to actively participate in the experience rather than just acting as passive viewers who take in information.
Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty popularized Web 2.0 at the first O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 Conference in late 2004. The conference was organized by O’Reilly Media and was invitation-only. It featured various prominent thinkers and entrepreneurs from the web community.
Web 2.0 enabled internet users to share information, create user accounts on various websites, publish comments and articles, further increasing participation. Web 2.0 gave way to social media sites that we can’t live without today and self-publishing sites such as WordPress. Sites such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter introduced the world to the limitless possibilities of the internet. Social interactions went beyond just in-person interactions and progressed to a digitally connected world.
Imagine your day without Outlook or Gmail. It’s almost impossible right? People are able to interact with anyone from anywhere in the world through their screens. This innovation was life-changing and will continue to be.
Let’s map the internet’s journey from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0
Social media & Web 2.0
On February 4th, 2004, a Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg launched The Facebook, a website that connects Harvard students with each other. If you have seen The Social Network, a movie based on the controversies behind Facebook, then you may be familiar with the nitty-gritty of it all. Nonetheless, let’s understand how websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Wikipedia, Rizzle make Web 2.0 the social web it is today.
The world was first introduced to “social media” when blogs and publishing websites gave people the option to share their work with each other and give feedback via comments. Linkedin was founded in 2002 as a networking site for individuals looking to grow their careers. Fast forward to 2022, Linkedin has around 690 million users and approximately 310 million active monthly users and is the go-to website for HR professionals looking to hire job seekers. Bizarre, right? In 2003, Myspace was launched and quickly became the most visited website globally. Myspace allowed users to share their own music directly with peers by posting it on their profiles. It gave people a platform to showcase and hone their skills. Although, at the time, this was a revolutionary idea, the hype behind Myspace died down by 2011 due to the tough competition from Facebook.
The Facebook Hype
Facebook quickly became the hottest thing on the internet. The concept of Facebook was foreign and enticing. People scrambled to create their Facebook accounts and connect with practically anyone they knew. For Gen X, Facebook was the center of innovation. It allowed them to connect with their friends from school or university. For millennials and Gen Z, it became a new way of life. A well-connected life. Cut to 2022, Facebook has now come to be known as Meta and is transforming the face of digital social interactions yet again. To learn more about how Facebook is transforming the internet, check out this blog!
Google also forayed into this space by introducing Google+. It was launched in 2011 in an attempt to compete with other social networking sites. Unfortunately, in 2018, the journey of Google+ came to an end after the private information of around 500,000 users was compromised due to a data breach.
The YouTube phenomenon
As the name suggests, ‘YouTube’ was created to enable people to share their home videos with the world. It was a revolutionary platform that started the phenomenon of video sharing. Although, initially, YouTube was created to be a video dating site called “Tune In Hook Up.” A year into the launch of YouTube, by 2006, it was serving more than 100 million videos per day. People would upload their own videos and even view multiple videos at a stretch.
Today, YouTube is a mode of income for various influencers born on the platform. The platform gave birth to a generation of influencers such as PewDiePie, Smosh, Lily Singh, aka Superwoman, CarryMinati, etc. It gave people the opportunity to create their own channel and upload videos that have the potential to be monetized.
Did you know? In 2014, the famous YouTube star, Grumpy Cat, earned more money than Gwyneth Paltrow, an Oscar-Winning Actress?
If you are an active YouTube user, then chances are that you, too, have gone down the YouTube rabbit hole.
Social media uprising
Today, the social media industry has players competing for the attention of approximately 3.96 billion users. Instead of there being one reigning king, multiple platforms have really stood their ground and created a broad user base. In 2005, Reddit was launched by a couple of roommates from the University of Virginia, later acquired by Conde Nast Publications. Today. Reddit is a robust community of opinionated individuals who have a forum to exchange views, ideologies and make social commentary. There is a Reddit thread for almost any topic under the sun.
2006 saw Twitter enter the realm of social media. Twitter started off as a microblogging site and quickly took the world by storm.
Did you know? Every minute, an average of 350,000 new tweets are posted on Twitter.
This brings the daily average to around 500 million tweets per day. Twitter was even certified by the Vatican in 2013 when they announced that, to become a better person, you should follow the pope on Twitter and keep up with all live events at the Vatican. Yes, you read that right! Today, Twitter is recognized by celebrities, organizations, and everyday folk as an essential tool of communication. People can exchange views in real-time and even get instant feedback.
The Instagram boom
Instagram started off as a simple photo-sharing app. It allowed people to share their pictures with their friends and family and stay connected. Instagram democratized the idea of photo sharing via mobile devices. Everyone tried getting the perfect food pic, an aesthetic shot that fit those vertical square dimensions. Today, Instagram is one of the most influential platforms of its generation. It allows people to share the highlights of their lives with their friends and family, shop via Instagram thrift stores, create reels, and network with various brands as well as people.
The short video revolution
When we think of short videos, we instantly think of vertical, bite-sized, incredibly engaging videos. The short videos that we know today, originated from China in 2012. Although Vine revolutionized 6s videos and Snapchat introduced the world to the concept of short videos via snap stories, Kuaishou was the first traditional short video platform. Today, platforms like Rizzle, TikTok, Instagram Reels, Youtube shorts, among others, have introduced the world to the endless possibilities of short videos. Rizzle has democratized the short video space by providing creator tools and features that help creators achieve virality from anywhere in the world. If you’re looking for a guide on the various features you can use with Rizzle, do check out this blog!
Web 2.0 gave birth to an internet that was focused on being social. It encourages user-generated content due to its participatory nature. Web 2.0 introduced internet users to the true capabilities of a smartphone and made it an indispensable tool for everyone. Just try imagining your day without a phone, for instance. Seems impossible, right? Today, you can simply whip out your smartphone and do almost anything in the world. You can order your favorite meal, talk to someone from the opposite end of the world, buy yourself some new shoes, order groceries, become a millionaire influencer, or even find a date through dating platforms. You can even book a ticket to Bora Bora! The possibilities of Web 2.0 are truly limitless. It gave birth to a community that comprises billions of people connected via a screen.
What’s on the other side?
Web 3.0 is the next internet revolution that aims to put more control over web content in the hands of users. Therefore, with Web 3.0, you will not need a separate account for every social media platform. With a single account, you will have the liberty to move between platforms, browse for information, and even shop. The ultimate goal of Web 3.0 is to create an ecosystem of more intelligent, well-connected, and open websites. Web 3.0 is built using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and a blockchain security system to keep your information secure. The main crux of Web 3.0 is decentralization and incredible user utility.
Web 3.0 will allow internet users to get fairly compensated for their own data. For instance, you can sell your own data to advertisers while retaining ownership and data privacy. Instead of tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft making profits on user data, Web 3.0 will enable users to be paid for the data they share. To further break things down, smart home appliances using wireless networks and the Internet of Things are examples of how Web 3.0 is already impacting technology.
How will Web 3.0 change our lives?
- A personalized browsing experience that is customized to fit the user’s device location. Web apps will become far more aware of usage habits in general.
- Faster and Intuitive web experience with the ability to abandon command-line search phrases and instead speak directly to the likes of Google or Alexa naturally. “Show me a list of all my local cinemas screening Spiderman tomorrow.”
- Robust app experience – Take Google maps, for example; with Web 3.0, it is possible to combine location search with route guidance, hotel or restaurant recommendations, and live traffic updates. This simply wouldn’t be possible with Web 2.0.
This scenario of Web 3.0 is not a distant reality; in fact, some of this technology already exists in our daily lives. It involves reducing any remaining complexity from the web and making it more accessible for a larger number of people, just like the Internet of Things (IoT) is progressively building a more digitally-centric, connected society.
Web 2.0 to 3.0
Web 2.0 alludes to sites and applications that maximize user-generated content for end-users. In other words, Web 2.0 was centered around providing people with various communication channels. The contrast between Web 2.0 and 3.0 is that Web 3.0 is more centered around utilizing technology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to provide each user with relevant content designed for them rather than bombarding users with content that is generic.
Furthermore, Web 3.0 is here to stay. Although certain versions of Web 3.0 technology are still in their early phases, if you’ve done a simple Google search today and utilized natural language to obtain an answer to your issue, you’ve already experienced the benefits of this next chapter in the World Wide Web’s tale.
So, if you found this journey interesting, do leave us your comments on which applications from Web 2.0 you use in your everyday lives.