Like it or not people…the game has changed! Web as we know it will never be the same. In fact it may even be fair to say that it’s more like it was in the old days than some people may care to admit.

Let’s start there…at the beginning that is…

The internet was created as a communication vehicle. Originally used by nerds and the military, its function was that of communication.

As the technology began to grow so did the interest from a shrinking global population searching for better alternatives to the facsimile and thus the web browser was born. I guess you could say that’s where most of the issues started.

You see, it was at this point that the sales and marketing industries started to realise the potential of what was now called the internet. They could see that if we could expand the communication from being a very simple and basic layout to a much more visual environment then it could be used as an extension to their branding process. Thus the first wave of poorly designed sites were born.

Again the technology began to boom and again the designs became more elaborate until suddenly speed entered the equation. The solution? ADSL or Broadband as many may know it. This further opened up the opportunity to expand the graphical limits of websites with the introduction of advanced ‘flash’ based sites and the like.

As appealing as many of these sites were and still are, the fundamental aspect of communication was lost…until recently.

Many people have started spruking this term ” Web 2.0” So what is it and why would it affect me?

Well it affects everyone because it’s the next wave of how the internet will grow and it gives back the power to the communication and the end user – the consumer.

The best example and probably the most publicised has been the birth of social interaction sites such as MySpace, FaceBook , Bebo and many others. These sites contain content that is updated by the users – not the owners. They create a new connection between people from anywhere on the planet. They also dig deep into one of the key fundamental philosophies of the net – the free sharing of information.

Now it can be argued that much of the information that is being shared on these types of sites is fairly useless and that may be the case but it certainly is paving the way for open levels of communication.

Other technologies such as this Blog also allow this free flow of information. A transference of knowledge across all those who seek it. It is truly a powerful aspect of where the internet is heading.

Design is also having to shape itself around the technology with a new style being associated with the Web 2.0. In fact, our first Web 2.0 style site is due to be launched in the next month or so. This example will not necessarily utilise the full potential of Web 2.0 but has certainly been designed with the growth in this area in mind.

Even when branding a business, you have to consider all these aspects. There is a definite trend in the styles and to compete in this marketplace, business needs to look for companies that understand how to market and brand them correctly for the Web 2.0 world.

It’s not all about the look though. As I mentioned before, it’s also about the user. You’ll begin to find examples across the internet that are utilising different sizes of text in search results based on the terms you searched for and what others have gone onto search for after. The technology is gathering knowledge and a understanding of consumer behaviour.

Scary? Perhaps. Powerful? My word!

It will also help to shape the future of search engines and the data that you seek. This is vital as the internet grows and grows.

Finding what you need will become increasingly difficult ( as it already is) but this type of movement forward ( or backwards as I see it) will assist in making this a much more fluid experience.

You may still be asking though, what is Web 2.0? Possibly the best way, is to say that it is all the things that Web 1.0 promised…but never delivered.

There are many articles on the internet that relate to Web 2.0. One I found particularly interesting can be found here: Maste New Media

So there you go. My take on Web 2.0. It’s a whole new world but an exciting one. It’s certainly another marketing challenge and it will be interesting to see how quickly both our industry and the general business community embrace the concept. It’s been around for quite a few years, and with the likes of Packer buying into sites like MySpace, it’s likely to have a future…we’ll all have to watch this space.