Judge Fudge

web 2.0 - bubble

This amusing story in the Times (and courtesty of Brand Republic’s Robin Grant) tells the story of the judge in a cyber-terrorist trial who had to halt proceedings because he didn’t understand what a website was. Judge Peter Openshaw’s exact words were:

“The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a website is.”

This made me think about the definition of web 2.0 – not that we need another one.

Google discarded its beta label in 1999 and won a webby award in 2000 (thank-you speech: “We love you, Google users”), Wikipedia founded 2001, Microsoft launches Web Services: 2002, AdSense was released in 2003, Flickr launches: 2004, Ajax term coined by Jesse James Garrett: 2005 (good debate about when it – or rather XML over HTTP  – was invented here).

So, the question is, was the 2005/2006 arrival of Web 2.0 really just a question of the press waking up to social trends that had been going since 1999 but which everyone had assumed dead in the water because of the famous bubble. New user interface design patterns are memorable but usability remains tantamount.

It certainly remains true that many of the innovations that have happened in the last two years would not have not been possible with the infrastructure improvements in the first few years of the decade.