Despite all the various definitions of Web 2.0, everybody seems to agree that it’s “something” and wants to define it. This tells me that it’s probably a little bit of everyones’ definition.
In my view, describing “Web 2.0” is like describing what happens when you till the soil, plant seeds, and water in your garden. Is Web 2.0 about the pre-conditions, the process or the product? Are we talking about where it came from, how we till soil to grow fruit, or the fruit that we eat? (All are important.)
My definition of Web 2.0 is as such:
“Web 2.0 is what people build when costs approach zero.”
Another way to think about it is that Web 2.0 is what happens when lots of players can enter a market where previously they were unable to. The cost reductions came in the from of hardware, software, connectivity, skilled workers, more-compliant browsers (cheaper to develop for), and user-acceptance. Suddenly, launching a web application becomes an approachable investment.
Stepping back, Web 1.0 can be seen as a commerce network which was a dramatic change in comparison to Web 0.0, a defense network. There was similar hype around Web 1.0, but nobody gave it that name because we didn’t know that it would jump beyond the commerce sphere.
Web 3.0 will likely be what comes out of the massive paradigm shift enabled by ubiquitous and seamless connectivity and computing. Or, Web 3.0 is when “the internet” disappears just like “electricity” has disappeared into the walls of our homes.