There's something about the Web 2.0 buzz that's forced itself into the fore front over the last year that's never quite sat right with me. Milan Negovan recently made a post titled “Con 2.0” which summarized my own feelings on the subject perfectly (which Milan seems to do quite often). The problem with the hype around Web 2.0 is that there seems to be a real push to solve a problem I don't have. Sure the bells and whistles are cool and have a lot of “wow-factor” to them, but I seldom come accross a new feature that carries the Web 2.0 banner that provides me with any real, or new, value. Yet somehow, VC's seem to be itching to dump in funding.
Do I really need a shiny new web toy to give me more XMLHttpRequest driven features I really don't need? Russell Beattie really hits the nail on the head when in comes to Web 2.0 IMO:
Let’s go back in history (2004) to the conception of the term “Web 2.0? itself - the shining examples then were Amazon.com and eBay. They didn’t just open up their back ends for developers to use via XML APIs over the web, they made A LOT OF MONEY doing it. That was the key: Every Amazon.com API transaction ends up with a purchase from their site. Every eBay upload ends up with a listing or a purchase or something as well. It was clear, Web 2.0 was about platforms, open APIs enabling real business, not the overhyped traffic generators of the late 90s which did nothing but waste a lot of investor’s money.
But since then Web 2.0 has just mutated. Somehow the focus flipped from “making” platforms to “using” them. Ajax came along, Social Software and Tagging took over, RSS alone was considered an API, a few companies got bought, mobile was forgotten about completely and somewhere along the way the whole part about the “business” stuff went totally out the window. Hey, I’m all about creating useful and innovative software for your users, but if you can’t make a profit, you won’t be around long enough to make any sort of difference, and will probably cause more harm than good.
It's not like anything that helped coined the term Web 2.0 is anything new. Any real techie out there knows there's no real innovation, just the same stuff used in different ways. But I don't need that. What we need is something that revolutionized the web when it comes to getting real value for businesses and consumers. Make the internet more useful and give me more reasons to never leave my house ;-). I just don't think that some fancy client-side scripting is going to do that for me. I just don't get it.
David Ing posted a funny bit of code to sum up his thoughts on the subject. Nice.