Fred Wilson has been thinking about the Web as a Platform concept. Like me, Fred sees this phrase as central to understanding the current era of the Web - known as Web 2.0. I liked how he put it:
"I believe the web is a platform. And that everything we need for an open ad market, or an open data architecture, or frankly most anything else, is available on the "web platform" today."
The reason I like that rough definition is it recognizes that content, media, markets, social apps - and lots of other things - are being built on the Web today. Too often people equate the Web as Platform idea to new software built with AJAX. I won't bring out the rather lame 'Web 2.0 is about people' line, but I will say that the Web is a platform for many more things than just software. Look at the Web innovation happening in libraries, as just one example.
Delving into the Web as Platform... I'm in the middle of exploring mashups - of all forms - and data models. I haven't written much about it yet in R/WW, because I've been busy doing and studying (and working!). But sooner or later an outpouring of blogging will occur on R/WW around these themes :-) In the meantime, I want to highlight a comment left by Ramana Kovi in Fred's post. Ramana made a valiant attempt at categorizing the 'Web as Platform' concept. He is building a DLA platform of his own called ePlatform, so he has probably thought a lot about this.
Ramana puts Web platform vendors into the following categories:
1. Authentication system (e.g. SXIP, Passport)
2. Payment System ( e.g. Paypal)
3. Reputation System ( e.g. Opinity)
4. Credit/Risk Management System (Dun & Bradstreet/FICO )
1. Product Catalog Services ( e.g. Amazon/iTunes etc)
2. Mapping services ( Google/Yahoo/MSN/Map quest)
3. News services ( Reuters/AP)
4. Ad Network ( Adword)
3. Communication/Collaboration Services
2. Calendar & Messaging
5. Social networks
I think this is a very useful way of looking at the 'Web as Platform' concept (aka Web 2.0). How about we make an attempt here on my blog to fill out Ramana's categories. I'm going to think about the Data Services in particular. Please add to the above list started by Ramana in the comments below. I'll do an update post in a few days with a complete list, provided I get a good response. I'll be adding things too in the comments (right now I have to get back to my paid work!).