Web 2.0 : A Walled Garden?

| March 12th, 2006

What does the term ‘Web 2.0′ denote?

Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an “architecture of participation,” and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.

Web 2.0: Walled Garden

The Web 2.0 promotes an ‘architecture of participation’ by utilizing data from multiple sources and providing its own data in a form that can be utilized by others. This is evident from the numerous API’s that are available on the web. Anyone with a unique idea can develop a mashup using one or more of such API’s.

I have always been skeptical about the sustainability of mashups. Although the API’s the mashups use confer with the idea of Web 2.0 and promote openess and free flow of data, they are restricted in a way. For example, the search API released by Google restricts searches to thousand queries per day. Alexa for instance charges for its API usage. The question this raises is that ‘Is the Web 2.0 as open as we thought?’, as free as in beer.

In the mashup ecosystem the mashups can be thought of as resellers. The data providers are in control cause if they intend to discontinue sharing data or for some reason change their API, the dependant mashup will be in a fix. They can even block service to mashups they think are inappropriate.

This leads us to rethink: Is the Web 2.0 just another walled garden?