1. The end of Web 2.0?

    Posted October 13, 2008 in social media, strategy  |  No Comments so far

    Even though I’ve been known to use the phrase “Web 2.0” from time to time, I’ve never really liked the idea very much especially for using them as a high ranking seo service. It’s useful shorthand for when you’re talking to anyone whose knowledge about the internet is defined largely by current trends and ‘hypes’, but really, what’s ever been new about the idea of the web being a platform for user-generated content and social networking? Me and a lot of people I know have been using it for that purpose for nearly fifteen years already.

    That said, there’s a case to be made for the validity of the phrase. There’s a combination of interactivity, interoperability and a certain visual aesthetic that can arguably be described quite aptly as “Web 2.0”. But in the last year or so the Web 2.0 brand has been becoming more and more “bubble-esque” as ‘coolness’ has started to outstrip utility within that world.

    And as you will no doubt have noticed, we are no longer operating in an economy where coolness carries more weight than utility. The contraction of liquidity will lead to less and less investors being content to capitalise Silicon Valley firms with vapid business models. Products that don’t deliver clear operational value will find it much tougher to get funding.

    All in all, it’s like 2000-2001 again, but writ large. The FT’s Lex column (login needed) reported this morning that if the equities markets recover twice as quickly as they did after the 1929 crash, hardly anyone currently over 65 will live to see them reach their heights of summer 2007. The economic climate of the coming years isn’t going to support the kind of culture that “Web 2.0” has become.

    But is that really a bad thing? No, I don’t think so. The hardships that this industry experienced between 2000 and 2002 gave it a sorely-need maturity. And the next few years may do the same.

    Even if its underlying concepts were never that new, “Web 2.0” has introduced the mainstream to a way of connecting over the net that was previously the domain mainly of people like me – geeks, to be blunt. There is now an opportunity for it to go through the same process of maturation that “Web 1.0” did all those years ago, and this will bring changes into how we create and optimize our websites, so using tools as WordTree reverse ASIN could be helpful for this.

    Edit, January 2010: Interestingly the technology sector seems to have held up quite well despite the sustained global recession, which only now seems to be drawing to an end. Twitter might even have moved into profitability in 2009. There are still too many people marketing themselves as “social media gurus” but in general the big companies associated with “Web 2.0” have made well-informed and sensible decisions rather than turn into bloated dot-bomb throwbacks.

  2. My Google Chrome experiment

    Posted September 4, 2008 in software  |  No Comments so far

    Late yesterday afternoon I joined the rest of the internet and downloaded Google’s new browser, Chrome.

    I’d initially thought that I’d play around with it for a while, eventually forming an opinion which I’d then broadcast to all and sundry. But while I was doing this it struck me that this was pretty futile. Internet browsers are applications that most of us use so heavily, they’re the software equivalent of a second skin. It’s not really possible to have an informed opinion on one unless you’ve used it fairly extensively (or gone through the hell of optimising a fairly complex website on one – but that’s another story!).

    So, I’ve decided to put Firefox 3 to one side and use Google Chrome exclusively for a few days. Then I’ll write up my thoughts on how I feel it measures up.

    But one thing I can say about it now is, what’s up with the browser crashing when you type “:%” into the address bar? I’m amazed they didn’t pick that up in QA…

    Edit, January 2010: So, a while after writing this post, I went back to Firefox. I just missed add-ons too much. But without really noticing it, I gravitated back to Chrome to the point that it was my sole browser by around October 2009. It was mainly to do with speed; when feeling impatient I’d open Chrome while waiting for Firefox to load, and after a while I’d just open Chrome. When Google launched extensions for Chrome recently, I became even happier with it. I haven’t even installed Firefox on my new PC at home. It’s a shame though as I want Mozilla to succeed; I just think that Firefox has crossed the line into bloatware.