Time for your weekly dose of Web 2.0. This week: Yahoo yahoo yahoo (is there an echo in here?), Wikipedia, Web 2.0 start-ups, AutoLink (I know, but bear with me...), Ruby on Rails. btw what's the best time of the week to publish this regular feature of R/WW? OK let's try Monday afternoon NZ time, which'll be Sunday evening Silicon Valley time and nearly Monday morning UK time.
Gold Star For Yahoo!
If Web 2.0 was a school classroom, then Yahoo would be the teacher's pet right now. Google would be the one getting into mischief and gaining the respect of the other kids because of it. The school bully Microsoft would be sitting in the back of the class glowering and sniggering at everybody (although slightly fearful of this pushy new kid called Google). Sun Microsystems would be throwing spitballs at IBM. Flickr would be fending off advances from all the boys, while NY Times would be wondering how they ended up dating the fat kid (About.com). Amazon would have its head in the books - plotting how to gain the teacher's favour back from that dweeb Yahoo.
Anyway... Yahoo has had a big week. They released their Web Services offering, celebrated their 10th anniversary with the help of wide media coverage, hinted at a contextual advertising program, and continued to get mileage out of their Hollywood multimedia strategy. If Web 2.0 was a party, then Yahoo would be the life of it right now. And... (OK, enough metaphors!).
Also check out my analysis of Yahoo's Web Services and media Strategies.
Defining (And Leveraging) Web 2.0
Wikipedia made the term "Web 2.0" as official as it gets on the Web by publishing an entry on it, written by Kingsley Idehen. Kingsley has written a lot of good technical background on Web 2.0 on his blog - his writing on the subject extends back to August 2003 and is well worth checking out. It's fair to say his company OpenLink Software is positioning itself as a Web 2.0 vendor, particularly with its "universal server" product Virtuoso. Tom Bradford is the Technical Evangalist there and he also references Web 2.0 in his blog.
It's interesting to watch as companies start to position themselves in terms of Web 2.0... Verizon has a product called Mobile Web 2.0 which is a mobile phone content service - although they appear to have came up with the name before the O'Reilly conference last year. Incidentally, Yahoo has a finger in that pie too.
Expect more companies to leverage Web 2.0 this year as a catchphrase for their offerings. I think this is a good thing, so long as the term continues to broadly mean Web as Platform and it's not co-opted by any one company for their marketing.
Web 2.0 Start-up Action
There are a number of start-ups that are beginning to come into play, due to increased VC interest in Web 2.0 apps. For example, Sharefare Corporation described itself in a job advert as "a well funded Web 2.0 startup that has a Google sized business opportunity!".
David Galbraith's Wists is another example and it got some decent coverage in the blogosphere this week (the coverage started off as links via David's social network and soon got linked to by others in the blogosphere... that's the way to do it). Wists has been described as del.icio.us with images, but it remains to be seen if it can match the success of del.icio.us. On that note, I wonder if Joshua Schachter has had many offers for del.icio.us?? Surely he's had some money waved under his nose for it...
Google AutoLink Controversy Rages On...And On
To be honest, I haven't been able to work up much emotion on the subject of Google's AutoLink. Not sure why, as plenty of other people have a head full of steam about it. For the pro side, read Cory Doctorow. And for the con side, read Steve Rubel. My humble opinion? I'm cautiously optimistic about Google AutoLink, because it's an example of Remix Culture innovation and it ultimately gives more power to the Web user.
The Rise Of Ruby On Rails
Finally this week, I've noticed that Ruby (the programming language) and Ruby on Rails (the framework) is gaining some traction in the Web 2.0 world. Dave Thomas is writing a book about Ruby on Rails and he wrote this in the intro:
"Rails is the framework of choice for the new generation of Web 2.0 developers."
Certainly Rails is being used to deploy some relatively high profile social web apps: 43 Things, Evan Williams' podcasting app Odeo, the Basecamp project management app. While it seems to be still a minority programming language, it's a case of 'watch this space' for Ruby as far as building out Web 2.0 is concerned.