Hype Or Not, Web 2.0 Keeps Advancing

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Anyone who has been around the technology industry for a while understands that, sometimes, techies can pick fights over just about anything from software code to code names.

So it shouldn't be surprising that one of the current arguments heating up is whether the moniker "Web 2.0" is appropriate for the emerging generation of Internet-based technology.

Sun Microsystems' Tim Bray put a chip on his shoulder when he wrote this:

I just wanted to say how much I&'ve come to dislike this “Web 2.0” faux-meme. It&'s not only vacuous marketing hype, it can&'t possibly be right. In terms of qualitative changes of everyone&'s experience of the Web, the first happened when Google hit its stride and suddenly search was useful for, and used by, everyone every day. The second—syndication and blogging turning the Web from a library into an event stream—is in the middle of happening. So a lot of us are already on 3.0. Anyhow, I think Usenet might have been the real 1.0. But most times, the whole thing still feels like a shaky early beta to me.

Tim O'Reilly, one of the leading proponents of the term "Web 2.0," responded at length with a multi-layered argument. Essentially, O'Reilly says it's a good phrase to sum up the multi-stage growth of Internet technology and, besides, the name has stuck so people must like it.

The entire argument reminds me of the old saying, "I don't care what you call me, as long as you call me for dinner."

Which brings us to Bobby Woolf at IBM, who lets us know that the dinner table is almost set, at least when it comes to pervasive computing. On his IBM Developerworks blog, Woolf notes one of the more compelling advances to the latest version of web technologies. Woolf writes that under "Web 2.0" (or whatever you're calling it), pervasive devices such as PDAs can now examine a web site's data and choose the format and user interface to deliver it based on bandwidth, the device's own screen size or other factors.

The device can even choose a non-visual UI, such as an auditory UI for a car dashboard. The site concentrates on one API, Web 2.0; the user gets a UI that makes sense; the device's client app, which can more easily be different for each different device, makes up the difference.

Woolf adds: "This whole Web 2.0 thing is finally going to help make this whole pervasive computing thing really work."

By any other name, isn't that what counts?

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