The Web 2.0 boom was something that stirred everybody and everything that had a remote connection with the Internet. Startups, mashups, networks ... you name it! Everything began to appear everywhere you looked. We called it 'opening the Internet to the people'. But was it really that? Thinking back at everything that has happened, everything we call and label 'Web 2.0', I realised that it can be put together with a better definition than what we've come to call it.
Web 2.0, or the second generation Internet, served the purpose of defining the Internet as an application platform. Very simply put, it opened up the minds of (many more) people to the possibility of creating applications (or apps, as we call them) and developing them for the Internet. Adding functionalities, features and throwing it out to people for use, all pretty much free of cost and with minimum production glitches, well, at least for most. It makes sense! :D
Every social network or startup that you've seen since the boom offers some kind of a service which boosts inter-connectivity or exchange of data between people and applications. They became interfaces, becoming the middlemen between people and data. Offering choices as to how the user would like his data, it 'opened' up the Internet' to the 'people' to the data and technology that already existed. If you'd have noticed, close to nothing new was created during the entire time Web 2.0 was so heavy in our lives. Concepts were mixed and matched to organise the data better, and then present them to a user.
FeedsJSON became the format of choice for all developers, since it made transfer of data so easy, because of the format it uses. It also allowed a refreshing workaround to cross-domain AJAX calls. was one of the few creations and genius of this time, with many services depending on it. Bookmarking / Tagging was another, which served to just organise the data and make it shareable amongst people. Social Networks had existed before, but got more exposure thanks to the 'Connecting people' approach.
If you're thinking about the Web 2.0 'look' and other peripherals, then all I'll say it was just things that piggybacked on the success of the buzzword doing the rounds. The look was a simple, fresh, eye-catching and functional design, and the reason it was labelled Web 2.0-ish was because it did visually what applications did with data. It provided a simple interface between people and content/data.
So now what?
Well, nothing! The boom is now receding, and slowly fading. The madness is over, but good services will continue to rise and show up since the trend has been started. It was high time people saw the Internet as a platform for data, not just as a medium/media. Now, those with enough creativity can go ahead and develop new applications and services for this new (but old) Internet and continue to improve it for all of us!
Maybe my point of view has changed yours? :)