Web 2.0

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Web 2.0 is a catchphrase that is used for a number of interactive and collaborative elements of the Internet , especially the World Wide Web . The user not only consumes the content, he, as a prosumer , makes content available himself. Based on the version numbers of software products, the term postulates a new generation of the web and distinguishes it from previous types of use. However, the use of the term decreased in favor of the term social media .


The term Web 2.0 was in December 2003 in the US edition "Fast Forward 2010 - The Fate of IT," the magazine CIO in the article "2004 - The Year of Web Services" by Eric Knorr, editor of IDG magazine InfoWorld , first time mentioned to the general public.

“An increase of outsourcing with web services is nothing less than the start of what Scott Dietzen, CTO of BEA Systems, calls the Web 2.0, where the Web becomes a universal, standards-based integration platform. Web 1.0 ( HTTP , TCP / IP and HTML ) is the core of the enterprise infrastructure. "

“An increased outsourcing with network services is nothing less than the beginning of what Scott Dietzen, Technical Director of BEA Systems, calls Web 2.0, which makes the network a universal, standards-based integration platform. Web 1.0 (HTTP, TCP / IP and HTML) is the core of business infrastructure. "

- Eric Knorr

Eric Knorr quoted Scott Dietzen, who at the time was CTO at BEA Systems (a subsidiary of Oracle ) , in his article . Dietzen is now CEO of Pure Storage , a company that manufactures flash storage. In 2004 the term was also used by Dale Dougherty and Craig Cline and received considerable media coverage after the article "What is Web 2.0" by Tim O'Reilly on September 30, 2005, also outside the English-speaking area. However, the term is controversial and is viewed critically by Tim Berners-Lee , the founder of the World Wide Web, for example . Tim O'Reilly defined the term Web 2.0 in 2006 in a similar way to Eric Knorr or Scott Dietzen. O'Reilly described Web 2.0 as a change in business and a new movement in the computer industry toward the Internet as a platform.

"Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform."

"Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry, brought about by the shift to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules of success on this new platform."

- Tim O'Reilly


In addition to specific technologies or innovations such as cloud computing, the term Web 2.0 primarily refers to changes in the use and perception of the Internet. Users create, edit and distribute content in a quantitative and qualitative manner themselves, supported by interactive applications . To define the new role of the user, the term has become prosumers (English prosumer ) enforced. The content is no longer just created centrally by large media companies and distributed via the Internet, but also by a large number of users who also network with one another with the help of social software . In marketing, attempts are being made to move from the push principle (pushing: active distribution) to the pull principle (pulling: active collection) and to motivate users to help design websites of their own accord.


The term differentiates the interactive types of use from a - subsequently so-called - Web 1.0 , in which there are only a few "editors" (people and organizations who created content for the web or provided information), but numerous "users" (consumers who used the provided content passively).

It is also stated that the web initially consisted primarily of static HTML pages, many of which were posted unchanged for a long time and only occasionally revised or exchanged at longer intervals. So that pages can be edited and managed efficiently by several people, content management systems and systems fed by databases have been developed that dynamically exchange the content of pages during runtime (not to be confused with dynamic HTML ) or help to insert new content .

From around 2005, the following developments have contributed to the changed use of the Internet from the point of view of those in favor of the term:

  • The separation of locally distributed and central data storage is dwindling: Even users without above-average technical knowledge or application experience use data storage media on the Internet (e.g. for photos). Local applications access applications in the network; Search engines access local data.
  • The separation of local and network-based applications is dwindling: programs update themselves independently via the Internet, reload modules as required and more and more applications are using an Internet browser as a user interface.
  • It is no longer the rule to use the individual services separately, but the web content of different services is seamlessly connected to new services via open programming interfaces (see Mashups ).
  • Thanks to innovations in the programming of browser-based applications, a user without any programming knowledge can actively participate in the dissemination of information and opinion more easily than before (see user-generated content ). For example, content management systems for blogs are now equipped with reliable rights management that allow application operators to only allow users to change parts of the content in a traceable manner and within a narrow framework.

Spread of the term

On September 30, 2005, Tim O'Reilly wrote an article that explains the subject in depth. The tag cloud shown here shows the principles of Web 2.0 . It was published by Markus Angermeier on November 11, 2005.

When Dale Dougherty ( O'Reilly Verlag ) and Craig Cline ( MediaLive ) were planning a conference together, Dougherty emphasized that the web was in a renaissance , with rules and business models changing. He made a number of comparisons: “ DoubleClick was Web 1.0; Google AdSense is Web 2.0. Ofoto was Web 1.0; Flickr is Web 2.0. ”Dougherty brought in John Battelle to develop a business perspective. O'Reilly Media, Battelle and MediaLive then hosted the first Web 2.0 conference in October 2004. The conference has been held annually in October since then.

CMP Technology (now owner of Media Live) coined the term Web 2.0 in connection with conferences in the US as so-called service mark ( service mark pending). In this context, the term attracted attention in the spring of 2006 when a non-commercial organization used the term for its own conference and was warned by a lawyer by CMP . This measure has been criticized sharply, especially in weblogs. O'Reilly and Battelle summarized key principles for characterizing applications that can be classified under the term Web 2.0 :

  • the web as a platform (instead of the local computer)
  • data-driven applications (content is more important than appearance)
  • Networking is reinforced by an "architecture of participation" (everyone can participate)
  • Innovations in the construction of systems and pages through the use of components that have been created by different developers and can be combined with one another as required (similar to the open source development model)
  • simple business models through the distributed, shared use of content and technical services
  • the end of the classic software life cycle ; the projects are always in beta
  • the software goes beyond the capabilities of a single use
  • it is aimed not only at the vanguard of web applications, but the broad mass of applications

Tim O'Reilly has also illustrated the difference with a few applications, some of which are not part of the web. (See reference to the list)

The emergence of common terms associated with the term Web 2.0 over time.


Web 2.0 can be characterized as follows:

  • Content generated by the users (content), self-publishing.
  • The ability to leverage the collective intelligence of users. The more users contribute, the more important and valuable the Web 2.0 site can become.
  • Unique environment for communication and collaboration.
  • Making data available in new or never intended forms. Web 2.0 data can be reassembled (“mash up” often using web service interfaces).
  • Simple programming techniques and tools make it possible for non-experts to act as developers (e.g. wikis, blogs, RSS and podcasts).
  • The elimination of Software Upgrade Cycles makes everything an eternal beta.
  • Special possibilities for the exchange of content and media.
  • Networks act as platforms that enable users to use applications through browsers.


From a technical point of view, Web 2.0 also describes a number of methods developed as early as the second half of the 1990s, many of which only became generally available worldwide with the advent of a large number of broadband Internet connections. Typical techniques and services are:

  • Web feeds in the RSS , Atom or similar format , where information is exchanged between websites
  • Techniques that enable web applications to be operated like conventional desktop applications ( e.g. AJAX )
  • Web services

Subscription services

Some website operators, such as newspapers, make website content available in a form that the user can subscribe to. New content is automatically downloaded and displayed to the user by a suitable program. Popular uses for this include displaying the latest headlines from your favorite newspaper on your desktop or information about newly arrived e-mails in a webmail inbox. Such subscription services are called web feeds ; the underlying formats are usually RSS or Atom .

Web service

A web service is a data or data analysis offer that can be called up via the web and that offers programs standardized query or data exchange paths. A web service is not designed to be used directly by humans. In connection with the so-called Web 2.0 , web services means the aggregation of services from various providers to form a new, more powerful or more comprehensive service for Internet users.

Sample applications:

  • Various search engines enable Internet users to submit a search query to the search service from their own website. Of course, programs can also use such web services from Internet search engines.
  • Websites with the help of which you can manage your library ( e.g. LibraryThing ) use web services from Internet booksellers to search for books, authors, etc. The web service provider supplies data records with information on the books found, sometimes with an image of the cover picture.

Semantic web

The term Web 2.0 is also associated with the Semantic Web . This concerns, for example, the use of elements such as FOAF and XFN to describe social networks , the development of folksonomies as a simplified variant of the ontologies , the use of geotagging or RDF- based RSS or Atom feeds, the use of microformats up to and including the creation of Ontologies with the help of wikis . The Semantic Web describes a technology development towards higher interoperability through the use of standards such as XML , RDF and OWL . This is intended to increase the processing of information by machines.


From a practical point of view, some Internet applications are directly assigned to the term Web 2.0 :

  • Wiki : a collection of web pages that users can freely create and revise
  • Blog : Often referred to as a diary on the Internet. A fixed group of authors writes entries that are listed in chronological reverse order. The reader can write comments on the entries.
  • Podcast : refers to the publication of audio and video files on the Internet
  • Social networks : represent social relationships on the Internet. They enable the user to create a profile and manage contacts. Usually the members can exchange ideas with one another in groups or communities.
  • virtual world : three-dimensional platform on the Internet
  • Social bookmarks : They offer the user the option of saving and categorizing personal links.
  • Social News : News submission, rating and commentary by users (see also participatory journalism ).
  • Media sharing platforms: Interested users can use the platforms to create a profile, save media data such as photos and videos, and consume and rate content from other users

Conceptual transfer

The term Web 2.0 became so popular that the conceptual scheme is now being applied to a wide range of areas such as Health 2.0 , Library 2.0 , Television 2.0 , Politics 2.0 , Relationship 2.0, Learning 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 or Economy 2.0. What they have in common is the intention to make clear the opportunities for participation or the interactivity of users or consumers in certain areas.

Furthermore, 2.0 is also generally used for a new or improved version, sometimes also in the sense of a repetition on another level, such as with Stasi 2.0 .

The term scheme is also used in a cultural context, in some cases even before the term Web 2.0 was spread. For example, the title of the second album by Garbage Version 2.0 , released in 1998, is . Other examples are the American television series Jake 2.0 and the German title of an episode of CSI: The perpetrators on the trail of murder investigation 2.0 .

Economical meaning

The importance of Web 2.0 applications can be demonstrated by their number of members, their popularity and the frequency of use. Facebook is the largest social network with 1.44 billion registered users in 2015. According to Alexa , four Web 2.0 applications were Facebook, YouTube , Wikipedia and Blogger.com among the ten most visited websites in the same period . The applications are used particularly frequently by young visitors (14 to 29 years old). The economic success of the applications has not yet materialized despite high expectations. The sales lag behind the theoretical market valuations, which can be calculated on the basis of the respective financing rounds of the companies that are mostly not yet listed on the stock market. In some cases, corporate leaders are still looking for the right business model.


Tim Berners-Lee , the founder of the WWW, said in 2006 about the term Web 2.0 in an IBM Developer Works Podcast that he considers Web 2.0 to be a "jargon expression that nobody knows what it really means." (Original quote: "I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means") He takes the view that the alleged "new understanding of the network" of Web 2.0 is in truth nothing other than the original understanding of the network that already existed for the web 1.0 basis was ( "Web 1.0 which is all about connecting people") .

From the very beginning, Berners-Lee designed the web to be both for publishing and consuming content. In fact, the first web browser he developed was already an editor and browser at the same time.

In addition, it is stated by critics that the term Web 2.0 merely generalizes normal, consistent further developments in the WWW. In the opinion of many critics, the term Web 2.0 is a marketing bubble that avoids precisely describing innovations by adding many new developments to Web 2.0 without a precise distinction , even if they are based on other technologies or objectives. For example, the generic term Web 2.0 encompasses a wide variety of things such as network-based applications that replace local applications (client-server applications) and social network applications. Furthermore, the term Web 2.0 suggests that the Internet has become more interactive - although there have been lively Usenet communities since the beginning of the Internet ; just like later in the WWW also many forum communities. Therefore, Web 2.0 does not contain anything new. The techniques used were also available long before they were used under this term.

See also


Magazine articles and white papers

Web links

Commons : Web 2.0  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Web 2.0  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Henning Schürig: Social Media instead of Web 2.0. March 31, 2010. From HenningSchuerig.de, accessed December 30, 2018.
  2. CIO: Fast Forward 2010 - The Fate of IT, 2004 - The Year of Web Services. In: CIO . December 15, 2003 ( limited preview in Google Book Search)
  3. Pure Storage Management Team
  4. German translation of the article "What is Web 2.0" by Tim O'Reilly
  5. ^ Tim O'Reilly: Web 2.0 Compact Definition: Trying Again. December 10, 2006, accessed May 7, 2009 .
  6. E-interview with Wolfgang Prinz - Web 2.0 - meaning, opportunities and risks. In: Competence Site. March 1, 2007.
  7. ^ Preventive strike against journalistic curiosity. In: nzz.ch. May 18, 2007, accessed December 19, 2014 .
  8. ^ A b Tim O'Reilly: What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.
  9. Markus Angermeier: Web 2.0 Mindmap. German version
  10. Article on the controversy surrounding the term protected as a trademark ( Memento from January 29, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Jürgen Schiller García: Web 2.0 Buzz Time bar. September 21, 2006, accessed October 29, 2006 .
  12. Linda SL Lai, Efraim Turban: Groups Formation and Operations in the Web 2.0 Environment and Social Networks. In: Group Decision and Negotiation. Volume 17, Issue 5, 2008, pp. 387-402.
  13. R. Orth: Knowledge management with Wiki systems. In: K. Mertins, H. Seidel (ed.): Knowledge management in medium-sized companies. Berlin / Heidelberg 2009.
  14. A. Zerfaß, D. Boelter: The new opinion makers ; Weblogs as a challenge for campaigns, marketing, PR and media. Graz 2005.
  15. M. Gheogegan, D. Hlass: Podcast Solutions; the complete Guide to Audio and Video Podcasting. New York 2007.
  16. M. Koch, A. Richter, A. Schlosser: Products for IT social networking in companies. In: Business Informatics.
  17. K. Stanoevska-Slabeva: The Potentials of 'Web 2.0' for Interactive Marketing. In: C. Belz, M. Schögel, O. Arndt, V. Walter (eds.): Interactive Marketing, New Ways to Dialog with Customers. Gabler 2008, ISBN 978-3-8349-0740-0 .
  18. Marcel Giersdorf: Relationship 2.0: Networked, engaged, married. In: FAZ.net . October 4, 2009, accessed December 19, 2014 .
  19. ^ Katrin Busemann, Christoph Gscheidle: Web 2.0: Communities popular with young users. ( Memento of May 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 184 kB). In: Media Perspektiven. 7/2009. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  20. Calculations and sources for the lecture by Prof. Alpar at the first Cologne Web Content Forum.
  21. ^ Google Inc. Q4 2008 Earnings Call Transcript. Seeking Alpha, Jan 22, 2009.
  22. "DeveloperWorks Interviews: Tim Berners-Lee" (transcript as text file, English)
  23. Wolf-Dieter Roth: Web 2.0 is useless blah blah that nobody can explain. In: Telepolis. September 3, 2006, accessed December 19, 2014 .
  24. Tim Berners-Lee, Mark Fischetti: Weaving the Web: The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its inventor. 1999.
  25. Tim Berners-Lee's original World Wide Web browser ( CERN )