Web 2.0: 2004-now

Linking programs to content and building applications

Since 2004 the user has been the product in the following Web 2.0-version of the internet. Web 2.0 was and is about machine learning.

In Web 2.0, first, the user teaches the machine (Web 2.0) about the habits and preferences of the user. The user gets information from pages or videos and the pages and the videos get information from the user. Then, the machine tells the user what the user should be doing and especially what they should buy next:

It also means that centralized companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon get huge amounts of data from the user. With this user data the companies can serve the user better. But the purpose of the company is to make the user stay longer in their pages and watch their content so that eventually the user decides to buy the company’s products and services. This can be summarized as the age of targeted advertising.

During the Web 2.0 era the user data is the business. For example Facebook can collect user information and sell it to advertisers. This also means lack of privacy because the user does not know how much or what information is collected from them.

Example: Targeted ads are many times based on information you didn’t know you gave to the company. Classic example of this is that if a man’s girlfriend is thinking if she is pregnant and she is searching for pregnancy tests, the man gets ads about baby products because the algorithm expects the pregnancy before pregnancy test results are known.

On the other hand, Web 2.0 brought lots of innovations like images, videos, applications, games and ads. The 2nd version of the internet relies heavily on the exchange of information between companies and users. But it also has developed a centralized social ecosystem which doesn’t necessarily benefit the user.

Compared to previous versions of the internet, internet-browsers like Google are no longer dictionaries of knowledge. Google just gives you targeted information based on your search history. It just tries to sell you based on your user data and the information it has from the user. Users will many times get very different experiences from the internet based on their search history, likes and time spent on different web pages.

It needs to be noted that Google decides who gets to see the information, too. This does not equal knowledge for everyone.

Compared to previous version of the internet Web 2.0 is a so-called read-write web. It means that the user can read and produce content but they do not necessarily own the content they produced.