Sunday, August 09, 2009

Web squared

Interesting paper by Tim O'Reilly and John Batelle titled web squared.

Starts out by describing how the Web 2.0  "network as a platform" enables applications that get better the more people use them with network effects acquiring users - then learning from them and building on their contributions. Web 2.0 is all about "harnessing collective intelligence" - managing, understanding and responding to massive amounts of user-generated data in real time.

Then goes on to observe that collective intelligence applications are no longer being driven solely by humans typing on keyboards - but, increasingly, also by sensors. Phones and cameras are mentioned as eyes and ears for applications and motion and location sensors. Much more data is being collected, presented and acted upon in real time.

Those who have the ability to interpret and react commercially on this exponentially growing opportunity - more data, richer data, real time data - stand to benefit big time. The borderline between reacting on the data and presciently reading results out of it is probably getting blurred. Here the future is not necessarily clearest in the announcements of big companies - but in the fast and clever actions by small players - early adopters and alpha geeks.

This all is not unexpected - Web 2.0 did not become Web 3.0 - but Web squared - described here as not the Semantic Web, tnot he Social web, not the Mobile Web, not a Virtual Reality - but all of it and more.

The importance at this stage of mobile phones should not be surprising either - they have - compared to PCs -  the advantages of being personal, with the users all the time, linked to the net all the time, affordable, having 3 times more users - and now also the capability to act as mobile and omnipresent sensors - adding exponentially to the data stream (naturally controlled by the users).

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