Why Web2.0 is actually rather good

Digg had a funny post a while back about the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. It showed the ubiquitous ‘under construction’ sign as Web1.0, and the word “BETA” as Web2.0. (It was funnier when I read it.)

I guess the difference, as the internet grows up, is that we’re getting less worried about using third-party services. Radio 1 used Flickr to allow their users to post pictures of John Peel Day - a massive step forward for the BBC, who until then would seemingly invent a BBC wheel rather than use any other. Through Backstage and the BBC’s RSS feeds, the BBC have cottoned on to what the internet offers: a far cry from where the Corporation was a few years ago.

While Virgin Radio have written our own blog software, currently used for the new media blog amongst others, when we came to launch the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show blog today, we didn’t use our own solution. Firstly, while our tool outputs XML, it doesn’t (bizarrely) output a usable RSS feed. Secondly, the user interface is fine for us, but not so fine for presenters to cope with. So instead, while the blogs look virtually identical, we’ve used - after experimenting with my own blog - Blogger for the Christian O’Connell one. We’re using Feedburner for the RSS and Atom feeds as well - another third party.

Today, too, we’ve also uploaded a great video for Christian (featuring Ricky Gervais) to Google Video, rather than necessarily just hosting it on our own servers. Google Video’s new ‘put on web page’ feature actually means that we can embed it into our own website without requiring Windows Media Player, a program which few Mac or Linux users have; so we’ll wait to see how it works on Monday before adding it to our own website.

The maturity of some of these third-party services means that more and more websites will benefit by trusting certain elements of their production to specialist third-parties: like Flickr for photo hosting, Google Video perhaps for video hosting, Feedburner for RSS feeds, and Blogger for blogging services. There’ll be less and less need to reinvent the wheel in future: and the web really will become more connected and a better tool for creation. Web2.0 is all about that: interconnecting services which end up making a better product for everyone. Which is, I suspect, a good thing.