The Web 2.0 trade show is happening this week in San Francisco. The term Web 2.0 was coined by the O'Reilly Group about 5 years ago to refer to a couple key Internet trends that were emerging at the time - the Internet as a platform for applications and as a platform for collecting and sharing collective intelligence.
The term quickly caught on and these concepts have entered the mainstream. Since it has been 5 years, many are asking "what's next?"
According to O'Reilly, it is Web Squared. The basic idea behind Web Squared is that web activity will grow exponentially as sensors and other information capture technologies (RFID, 3-D barcodes, cameras, voice recognition systems, GPS systems,etc.) add a flood of data and expand the range of possible applications.
This is similar to the concepts of The Internet of Things - a term coined in the late 90s by Kevin Ashton while at MIT's Auto ID Center - and Pervasive/Ubiquitous Computing, terms and concepts which have been around since at least the 80s.
New technologies tend to take a long time to move from the idea stage to the mainstream. And often, technology forecasters believe they will arrive much sooner than they do. The flying car and paperless office are good examples and missed technology forecasts are much more common than accurate ones. Because of this, I tend to be more than a bit skeptical of technology forecasts - even ours:).
But in this case I'm very much paying attention. The O'Reilly Group has a deep understanding of web technologies and have proved themselves to be excellent technology trend spotters.
So expect to hear and see a lot more on Web Squared over the next year.
We cover many of the Web Squared technologies in the Intuit Future of Small Business report The Connected World of Entrepreneurs, which was released in 2007. We're working with Intuit on an update of this report and expect to release a new forecast in the first half of 2010.