Demystifying Web 2.0


Web 2.0
A term coined to include the new emerging interactive web services including blogs, RSS feeds, social networking. Web 2.0 can extend to include things like embedded presence, unified communications and business processes all integrated with an HTML frontend. The following technologies and services are just a few of the components that comprise the new collection of Web 2.0 services.

Presence is one of the fundamental technologies that allows Instant Messaging to function. It literally provides an indication of the presence of online users. For example a user may be offline, online, unavailable, busy, etc. Presence can be automatically updated by checking user activity. Many applications today have embedded presence meaning that within an email application you can see the user’s presence beside their name.

Instant Messaging
Simply put a real-time messaging environment that leverages buddy lists and presence. Instant Messaging is quickly becoming the communication technology of choice for younger users as it provides a more comfortable environment to confront new friends. Since it is a texting service responses do not need to occur immediately allowing the user to multitask by chatting to several buddies simultaneously.

Google Talk

Realtime Simple Syndication
Allows for realtime feeds using packages of data in XML format. RSS can be used to receive updates from websites where content is refreshed on a regular basis (i.e. news feeds). RSS can also be used for any realtime feeds including multimedia and is often used for video and audio streaming between devices. RSS is a fundamental part of social networking sites as it is the technology that enables updates for users. For example when an onoline contact adds new photos or changes their profile, you may receive an RSS feed indicating the new changes.


Mashups refers to taking multiple Web 2.0 services and modifying their output to provide a new service. A simple example may be combining an RSS feed from a real estate site with Google Maps to plot the new properties on a map. Another common use is to custominze RSS news feeds. Often times a user might be interested in a particular topic and can combine multiple RSS news feeds and modify the output by filtering based on keywords. Several online tools exist to do this including Yahoo Pipes and Microsoft’s PopFly. Dion Hinchcliffe has written a great article on mashups covering plenty of platforms.

Yahoo Pipes

Posting personal articles in reverse chronological order online like a virtual diary. Blog sites often allow pictures and movie posting. Many social networking sites allow blogging. Blog entries can be posted in a number of ways including direct entries from the blog site itself, email submission and even IM and SMS.

My Space

Similar to blogging but with limits on blog entry size. The idea is to generate more frequent and presumably more digestable posts. Microblogging limits users to 140 characters allowing subscribed users to receive new entries via IM or SMS.


Although most blog sites allow photo posting the main puirpose of a photoblog is to allow sharing of photos online. Photoblogging often allows posting directly from mobile devices including cellphones and PDAs.


Social Networking
Online communities of interest where users can customize their homepage, share photos and media, chat with friends, family and colleagues and much more. Many social networking services are creating APIs which allow third parties to create applications that can be embedded in a homepage. The power of social networking sites is in their ability to be customized and powerful searching functions. Social networking sites exist for virtually all interests so pick the one that best fits your needs. All social networking sites use the same fundamental concepts of customization, embedded presence so you can see who is online, messaging between users, email, searching, tagging, adding comments to others profiles, and auto RSS feeds to notify you of updates other users have made

My Space
Linked In

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