WHATIS?: Some Popular “Web 2.0″ Sites

I’m going to throw some names of quite a few popular Web 2.0 sites around quite a bit, so I figured I’d define them for those who don’t know what they are. If you know these all too well already, I apologize in advance.

GMail is Google’s web-based mail application. You probably have heard of this one. It uses the AJAX approach so that it behaves like a desktop application (not the click-refresh-click-refresh model that you’re used to). It also abandons the idea of filing your mail in folders. Instead, you send your old messages to your “Archive” which you can then search quickly using Google’s incredible searching technologies.

Google Maps is Google’s MapQuest killer. It is a mapping/driving directions site that feels like a desktop app, again thanks to AJAX. You’d guess that it’s Flash or something, but no… that’s Javascript, baby.

Google Calendar takes a GMail approach to calendar management. Not only will typing something like “meet with Jon at 9am tomorrow” automatically create the event correctly, you can also publish your calendars to collaboratively share (if you don’t mind your data being on Google’s servers).

Del.icio.us is just plain neat. I’ve never been a big bookmarking guy, always preferring to just type the addresses of where I want to go. However, in doing all this research, I’ve wanted to save a bunch of articles for later. Well, what better way to try out another Web 2.0 app? Del.icio.us stores your bookmarks so you can share them on different machines. Not only that, but when you save a bookmark, you can see how many others have bookmarked it. Then you can read each users’ comments about that link. You can also see what else users that linked to that page linked to (think Amazon’s “Those who purchased X, purchased Y and Z”).

To top it all off, users tag each link with whatever terms they want for easy categorization. This type of tagging, called “folksonomy” (as opposed to “taxonomy”), generates a more accurate way to sort through data since it actually reflects how users are using the content, not how the site admins think they will use it.

Flickr is another site that relies on “folksonomy”, this one an online storage site for photographs. Flickr, while I don’t actually use it, has a rabid following. Flickr has gone beyond just photo uploading. You can create user groups to share and discuss, subscribe to other users’ photo albums, and comment on each others’ collections (and more).

Digg is a site where users submit tech stories. When other users read it and like it, they can “digg it”, which is essentially giving it a thumbs up. Articles receiving a lot of diggs are ranked on the top page, but users can also search for other sites that users digg.

There are many more out there than these, but I just wanted to talk about a few right off the bat. Rest assured that I will provide more.


  1. On November 21st, 2007 at 11:06 pm tahaira said:

    I am really happy to see this type of comments. Its really overwhelming information. I was searching for a perfect answer from many a day but this has just opened my eyes. Digg is obviously a very good Social networking site I love it.

  2. On December 29th, 2007 at 3:23 pm Mapquest Advocate said:

    Google Maps are great, but Mapquest is not dead just yet :)

    Google definitely is doing a great job in cutting into Mapquest market share, but it is going to take a little while… Mapquest is fighting back and innovating, too… Just recently they introduced a cheap gas search…

    Only time will tell I think…