Web 2.0 is a key concept of information delivery and an interaction model in the internet realm. The concept deals with technologies like AJAX, Flex, Flash etc. that provide mechanisms for partial page refreshes page repaints and page flickers. In addition to this is the idea of providing “rich” end-user interaction capabilities which include cascading filters being applied to a series of drop-downs and slick drag-N-drop features that were only possible in thick client interfaces.
However, Web 2.0 is more about the philosophy of having end-user involvement in the content of the site rather than the technology that drives it. Web 2.0 is not just a way to deliver rich look and feel passively to the users, as was in the case of the first wave of web applications. It is about end-user driven content and end-user driven ideas being provisioned on to the web site. This is a transformation from content-push model (from a content provider) to that of a content-pull and poll model. Web 2.0 is all driven by end-users and revolves around the end-users where in the published content is influenced by the consumers of the content.
Web 2.0 is about collective or community intelligence. It ranges from consumers making searches more meaningful for the entire community to allowing them to share their thoughts, expertise and even their personal experiences on the web‼ I attempt to highlight just a few of these concepts in this blog.
Index based collaborative search engines are a key component of this next generation web technologies. Search keywords and requests submitted by the end-users result in keyword-content correlation tags, indexes and other numeric metadata being associated with the content to improve the quality of searches. Each click related to the search keyword, adds a measure of relevance to a web page thus making the targeted web page content a more accurate source of information. This optimizes search relevance for all subsequent searches by other end-users.
Wiki – another Web 2.0 phenomenon, where by any end-users can edit the published content directly on the web site making the site content “dynamic”. This very facet of Web 2.0 has resulted in Wikipedia becoming the largest on-line encyclopedia. This feature also makes Web 2.0 a powerful “content” push engine instead of the passive pull model employed by the Web technologies of the first wave. RSS-aware programs can now surface and expose changes made to any of the Wikipedia sites based on end-user subscription for change notifications.
RSS syndication is also used by web-loggers (bloggers) and other news sharing content sites on the Web. RSS-aware programs called news aggregators are popular in the blogger community as they serve to promote mind-sharing among audiences with similar interests.
In addition, this content formatter technology based on the RSS protocol allows commercial web sites to push promotional and marketing content to their customer base. Customers can also use this news aggregator feature to automatically get content change notifications and updates about specific merchandise categories, new product introductions etc. Consumers can also post product reviews that can be subscribed to by other shoppers. All of this promotes customer participation and adds to the “peer pressure” on customers for encouraging purchase decisions that result in the increasing sales opportunity.
As can be seen, Web 2.0 is much more than just technology, it is truly a phenomenon. Next time, we will discuss the impact of this phenomenon on commerce‼!
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