WHAT IS WEB 2.0? Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software


This report is a summary of an article written by Tim O’Reilly, one of the main spokesmen on the topic of Web 2.0, entitled,WHAT IS WEB 2.0? Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. I look at the main points he has raised about the evolution of web 2.0, and conclude with a glimpse of its future application, and, the impact of web services on education, medicine and modern living.

Furthermore, the intended audience for this review are students of T215 who wish to acquire a more thorough understanding of how web 2.0 and user-generated content in particular has changed the way we interact with the internet.

The Web as platform

O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, an American firm that specialises in the business of publishing books and websites and produces conferences on computer technology topics(Wikipedia 2013.), in his article published in the Open University’s Online Communication and Collaboration A Reader (Donelan H, et al 2010), describes the evolution of the world wide web from web 1.0 to web 2.0 using anecdotes regarding some of the major internet companies that defined those eras.
In essence, O’Reilly observed that what distinguishes a web 1.0 company from a web 2.0 one, is that the latter realised that the internet was integral to the delivery of ‘web services’ and not a means to an end.

Moreover, O’Reilly summarized that web 2.0 companies ’embraced the power of the web to ‘harness collective intelligence.’ (O’Reilly T.2005a). Among other observations, O’Reilly cited that it is hyper linking that is the ‘foundation of the web’ and that Internet companies such as Yahoo, Google, Ebay and Amazon have realized that it is the analysis of this data regarding the user’s engagement with the companies that led to their dominance of the web.

Web 2.0 a two-way communication

Consequently, it was the move from static web pages’–information flowing in one direction from the company to the user, (Web 1.0) to ‘dynamic websites’ which allowed users to interact with what they discovered on the web, or a two-way flow,(web 2.0) that fundamentally changed the web into what the author calls, a ‘global brain’. Thus, O’Reilly thinks that any web 2.0 success story stems from the understanding that it was the provision of web services and the analysis the of data of its customer base that according to O ‘Reilly added value to their applications. “You can almost make the case that if a site or product relies on advertising to get the word out, it isn’t Web 2.0.”(O’Reilly 2005b).

Web science

Nevertheless, according to Anderson P(2007)Tim Berners-Lee who is credited as being the inventor of the world wide web, is proposing Web 2.0 be studied as a science to understand the growth of the Web, its emerging topology, trends and patterns and to develop new scientific approaches to studying it.” (Berners-Lee et al., 2006). Smartphone technology is introducing a whole new platform for web service, and next frontier is the ‘The Connected car’. Car manufactures are saying that, “by 2014 every new car will be connected to the web, and this is already the third fastest growing technological device after phones and tablets,” (Hudson A 2013)
Wearable technology.

Similarly, another phenomena that will impact users is wearable technology. Blogging on the website, WT Wearable Technologies (2013), Björn Eskofier, who is lead researcher at the Digital Sports and Sportronics Group at the Pattern Recognition Lab of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg says, “I think that Wearable Technologies will most likely enter the medical market…We have, for instance, joined forces with industrial and medical partners to work on a Wearable Technologies’ system for the early recognition and therapeutic support of sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.”


However, Paul Anderson a technology writer and Technical Director of Intelligent Content Ltd. in his paper, What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education, warned, “there are profound intellectual property debates ahead as individuals, the public realm and corporations clash over ownership of the huge amounts of data that Web 2.0 is generating and the new ways of aggregating and processing it,” he said.
(698 words)


Anderson P (2007),JISC Technology and standards watch, What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education[Online] Available at http://21stcenturywalton.pbworks.com/f/What+is+Web+2.0.pdf (Accessed on April 22, 2013)
Donelan H, Kear K, Ramage M (2010) T215 Information and Communication Technologies, Online Communication and Collaboration :A Reader, WHAT IS WEB 2.0? Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Berners-Lee,T., Hall,W., Hendler, J., Shadbolt, N.,Weitzner, D. 2006. Creating a science of the Web. Science. Aug 11, 2006. Vol. 313, No. 5788 pp.769-771.
Hudson, A.(2013)BBC News Technology,’Every new car’ connected to web by 2014[Online]Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21411335 (Accessed on April 22/04/13)
O’Reilly, T.(2005a) ‘What is Web 2.0?’ [Online]available at http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html(Accessed April 20, 2013)
O’Reilly, T. (2005b) ‘What is Web 2.0?’ [Online]available at http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html(Accessed April 20, 2013)
O’Reilly T.(2005c) ‘What is Web 2.0?’ [Online]available at http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html (Accessed April 20, 2013)
WT (2013) WT Wearable Technologies, Wearing a chest belt during sports like a handball is hardly realistic [Online]Available at http://www.wearable-technologies.com/wearing-a-chest-belt-during-sports-like-handball-is-hardly-realistic (Accessed on April 24, 2013
Wikipedia (2013) O’Reilly Media [Online] Last Modified April 3, 2013, Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Reilly_Media (Accessed April 22, 2013)