Saturday, 4 April 2009

Could Web 2.0 become "Web squared"?

Could Web 2.0 become "Web squared"?

That was the conundrum raised by the man who actually popularised the Web 2.0 moniker that many have grown to love and hate in equal part.

But during internet veteran Tim O'Reilly's keynote speech at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, he looked back over the past five years to demonstrate that the "baby we built with technology is growing up and it's starting to go to work".

He told the assembled audience of developers that the web was more than just a fun place to hang out and catch up with friends on Facebook or MySpace.

As proof of the "maturation" of Web 2.0 technologies, Mr O'Reilly described how they were increasingly interacting with the world through the use of sensors.

As proof, he cited the Google search application that predicted where flu would hit next, an energy metering aggregator called Amee and an internet sensor that Twittered people automatically when their plants needed watering.

"We are starting to see a co-ordination of these sensors. That is the future," stated Mr O'Reilly, the founder of O'Reilly Media, which organised the conference along with TechWeb.

He then told the audience that this led to a formulation "moving beyond Web 2.0 as it really engages with the world, it really becomes something profoundly different and we are calling it Web squared".

At that point, a slide came up with the words "Web 2.0 + World = Web Squared."

Alive and well

Certainly the Web 2.0 title is one that even Nate Elliott, a principal analyst for Forrester, feels is sounding tired.

"Yeah, it's time to call it the Web 7.0 conference or what about 9.2," he joked.

Co-conference chair Jennifer Pahlka from TechWeb acknowledged that the title definitely seemed to get under people's skin.