It has been five years since John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly launched their Web 2.0 Conference. The Web has changed immensely in that short period. Since 2004, web-enabled mobile devices have gained wide-spread adoption, all kinds of devices have started interfacing with the internet, events on the Web have started occurring in real-time, and we have increasingly been emitting data in our everyday life through our mobile devices, on websites, as well as countless other channels.
John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly have recently published a report, titled “Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On,” that reviews major changes over the past five years, sums up the current state of the Web, and predicts where it is going in the near future. “Web Squared” is the term that the authors give to the current state of the Web; it has evolved beyond the term “Web 2.0.” The paper sublimely encapsulates the past, present, and future, and it should be required reading for all product strategists and user experience designers.
A More Inclusive Web
To say that the Web has grown might be missing the point. The Web has grown not only in size, but more importantly, it has also grown to include many new ways of interfacing with it. In 2004, the primary mode of connecting to it was through a computer. Interacting with the Web involved a screen and standard modes of input such as a keyboard and mouse or trackpad. In 2009, we interface with the Web through innumerable novel devices that are fundamentally different from the old interaction paradigm. We may connect to the Web through widgets on an HDTV or through a touch interface on a mobile device. I like to think of these as varying nodes or portals that give us an interface to the many arms of the Web. For example, my TiVo now streams movies from Netflix directly to my TV. The experience comes complete with a TV-based interface as well as web-based interaction components. There are countless of other examples of new interaction portals:
Web Squared: Various Novel Devices Now Are Portals to the Web