Going from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

“Web 2.0” captures a combination of innovations on the Web in recent years. A precise definition is not defined yet and many sites are hard to categorize with the binary label “Web 1.0” or “Web 2.0.” But there is a clear separation between a set of highly popular Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook and YouTube, and the “old Web.” These separations are visible when projected onto a variety of axes, such as technological (scripting and presentation technologies used to render the site and allow user interaction); structural (purpose and layout of the site); and sociological (notions of friends and groups).

These shifts collectively have implications for researchers seeking to model, measure, and predict aspects of these sites. Some methodologies which have grown up around the Web no longer apply here. A briefly description of the world of Web 2.0 and enumerate the key differences and new questions to be addressed plus, the discussion on specific problems for the networking research community to tackle. The try also to extrapolate the current trends and predict future directions. The intended audience consists of technical readers familiar with some of the basic properties of the Web and its measurement, and who seek to understand the new challenges presented by recent shifts in Web technology and philosophy.

At the outset there is the need to distinguish between the concepts of Web 2.0 and social networks. Web 2.0 is both a platform on which innovative technologies have been built and a space where users are treated as first class objects. The platform sense consist of various new technologies on which a variety of popular social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace, etc. have been built.

However, the essential difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 is that content creators were few in Web 1.0 with the vast majority of users simply acting as consumers of content, while any participant can be a content creator in Web 2.0 and numerous technological aids have been created to maximize the potential for content creation. The democratic nature of Web 2.0 is exemplified by creations of large number of niche groups (collections of friends) who can exchange content of any kind (text, audio, video) and tag, comment, and link to both intra–group and extra–group “pages.” A popular innovation in Web 2.0 is “mashups,” which combine or render content in novel forms. For example, street addresses present in a classified advertisement database are linked with a map Web site to visualize the locations. Such cross–site linkage captures the generic concept of creating additional links between records of any semi–structured database with another database.

There is a significant shift in Internet traffic as a result of a dramatic increase in the usage of Web 2.0 sites. Most of the nearly half a billion users of online social networks continue to use Web 1.0 sites. However, there is an increasing trend in trying to fence social network user traffic to stay within the hosting sites. Intra–social network communication traffic (instant messages, e–mail, writing on shared boards etc.) stay entirely within the network and this has significant impact on the ability to measure such traffic from without.

The main focus is not doing speculation on the lifetimes of some of the currently popular Web 2.0 applications; for example, the constant stream of short messages that are sent to interested participants detailing minutiae of daily life. Instead the whole concentration is on technical issues and how work done earlier in Web 1.0 can benefit the ongoing work in Web 2.0.