My post in regards to Google Bookmarks has inspired me to start a whole new sub-section on the site! I am creating a new series called: A Beginner’s Guide To The Internet. I am going to try to outline some of the things that people should know in regards to the current state of the internet, as well as little tips and tricks that I have found. To start off, I will get into what the Web 2.0 culture really is.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 has become a real buzz word. There still seems to be some real confusion as to what it is. Some people equate it to using newer technologies that make web-pages seem more desktop application like. That is not at all how I interpret it. Web 2.0 is the personalization of the web.

An example. This blog page is not Web 2.0. When you visit the page, it looks the same for you as it would for the next person (with a few exceptions). This is the old standard of the web, and really it is not bad, but it did not fully embrace the full capabilities. Web 2.0 is specifically content that is tailored to you. When you visit Facebook or Hotmail, you see content that is your content. The next person will see an entirely new set of content. This contextual setup is the real definition of web 2.0, and it is spelling the end of the desktop application age.

With web 2.0 we work on data that is stored and secured on the internet, that is never downloaded. I am huge proponent of this new cloud computing revolution. When I check my email, I access the Google Mail servers and get my messages, I frequently do it from a web browser, but my smart phone can download email so that I have an offline copy as well. Downloading the message does not remove it from the cloud. It simply makes a synchronized copy, the main repository of the data is still the Google database. This is the change in the web culture; the data simply being out there… Out there in the cloud!

Cloud computing is all the rage, and we are not fully there yet. We still maintain a large amount of data on our personal computers, but a good deal of it, is stored out in the cloud where it can be universally accessed. I would hazard that the majority internet users have a free web based email account. Popular systems included Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. These services do not require you to have any data downloaded onto your computer. You can access them through a webpage, on your phone, from a desktop client, but the data is always housed on the web. Changing the data through any client application, also must modify the data on the web. And because of this, it will also mean that if you check the data from another device it will always be synchronized. This is a perfect example of Web 2.0 and the cloud.

Going forward you can expect to see more applications move to this model. Already we are starting to see online storage solutions; Amazon’s S3 being a big one. It allows you to access your data from any computer. As connection speeds begin to increase we will see that an ever larger part of our data will be stored in these online services. We aren’t there yet, but we will be soon.

Coming Soon:

Picking the right browser (and by that I mean stabbing yourself in the face if you use Internet Explorer).