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Is Web 2.0 really anything new?

For a while now I've been starting to think that Tim O'Reilly is, well, losing it. His recent attempt to explain Web 2.0 does nothing to make me feel differently.

When it takes five pages to explain something, the "something" doesn't exist. That doesn't stop people from pretending it does, though: already we have people pitching new browsers as being for "Web 2.0 savvy users".

I don't want to be too hard on these people. The web is changing, and Tim's manifesto does touch on the trends that are driving that change. But it's not such a big deal in reality. Let's not forget that the web had its beginnings in the desire to share information. In that beginning, there were no large corporations, no "dot.coms". It was much more about peers sharing knowledge.

Tim's rambling explanation keeps coming back to the involvement of the individual - the importance of bloggers, the necessity to involve users in software design, harnessing collective intelligence and so on. These are important trends, but they are nothing new.

The web started as information, and will remain as that. Nothing "2.0" at all, I think.

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