Tim O'Reilly Defines Web 2.0

I remember when I gave my first series of talks on Web 2.0 in Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, people were coming to me after the presentation asking me where they can buy Web 2.0... Obviously, this speaks volumes about my presentation abilities (or lack of abilities) but it also shows how confusing the first definition of Web 2.0 was to users.

Tim O'Reilly, who coined the term Web 2.0, spread the first definition on 5 pages. I am so glad to see that the second attempt to define it is at least more concise:

A true Web 2.0 application is one that gets better the more people use it. Google gets smarter every time someone makes a link on the web. Google gets smarter every time someone makes a search. It gets smarter every time someone clicks on an ad. And it immediately acts on that information to improve the experience for everyone else.

It's for this reason that I argue that the real heart of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence.

The world of Web 2.0 *can* be one in which we share our knowledge and insights, filter the news for each other, find out obscure facts, and make each other smarter and more responsive. We can instrument the world so it becomes something like a giant, responsive organism.

I still remember calling blogs "living organisms" in my interview with Nick Genes for Medscape, so I was not far off the mark.

Update 1/19/2007:
The new version of my presentation Web 2.0 in Medicine is available.

Tim O'Reilly and defining Web 2.0. Geeking with Greg.
My Commencement Speech at SIMS. Radar.OReilly.com.
Image source: OpenClipArt.org, public domain

Further reading:
Collaborative Presentation on Web 2.0. Link via Go2Web2.

Updated: 10/02/2007


  1. "Where can I buy it" is the funniest thing I ever heard about Web 2.0 !!!

  2. Interesting view of Web 2.0 and blogs. Let's hope both ring true.