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The Difference between Web 2.0 and Web 1.0

Updated on July 25, 2009

I was recently asked about the difference between Web 2.0 and Web 1.0. Simple question, I thought. But when I sat down to write this I realized the explanation isn’t as straight forward as I had originally thought. So read as I try to explain the differences between Web 2.0 and 1.0.

     Web 2.0 refers to how we are using the internet today. There is no one definition of Web 2.0 (some believe it is just a marketing term) and technically there s no change to the technologies used to power the web but there is a clear distinction between Web 2.0 and 1.0. As you know (since you're using it now) the internet has quickly become a staple in people's everyday lives. We rely on it to communicate with friends, families, coworkers and sometimes complete strangers. The internet has made things that were once out of reach, at the edge of our fingertips. With the rise of social networking giants like Facebook the dawn of Web 2.0 is here.

As is life, things change and evolve - we've seen the car evolve from starting with a hand crank to starting when you sit in the driver seat with a sensor in your pocket/wallet/purse. We've seen the cell phone evolve from a 10 pound box with a phone and battery attached that was only used to make phone calls (usually only in emergencies since it cost so much to make any kind of call) to small multi functional devices as light as a few ounces. Just as cars and phones have evolved, so has the internet.

In the 90s the internet was starting to become much more mainstream, people were typically hopping on their dial up connection to send e-mails, chat with friends and/or do research for a school project. In the sense that it has helped us to communicate and learn, the internet hasn't changed. It is in how we are going about communicating, learning and using the internet that has changed. As the internet has expanded, it evolved into a much more social and interactive tools as opposed to being static.

With Web 2.0 we don’t just use the internet we interact with it. Keywords to describe Web 2.0 are community, collaboration and user-driven. The way we used Web 1.0 was typically very linear. The internet was seen as a tool for business and utility. Webmasters created websites and users visited and viewed them. Communication was between webmaster and client. Webpages were static, when we needed an answer to a question our only option was to “AskJeeves” or “Yahoo”, now we have the opportunity to “Google it”, “Bing it” or ask questions of other users in forums.

Web 2.0 sites allow users to interact not only with the site and webmaster but with other people who access the site. Some good examples of Web 2.0 sites are Facebook, MySpace, and Digg. Web 2.0 is about web applications that users can interact with and control. Nowadays anyone and everyone is creating their own webpages filled with content that they enjoy. Making webpages is now within the reach of people who have no programming knowledge. In Web 1.0 website creation was left to the “experts”. The use of the internet went from being driven by expert webmasters to being driven by users. Users are now involved in creating their own internet experience. One way I like to think of the difference between 2.0 and 1.0 is to consider Web 1.0 as a 2D picture that one looks at and enjoys whereas Web 2.0 is a 3D experience where things are happening all around you and you are a part of it.

For you visual learners check out the image below to get a better understanding of the differences.

Was this informative? Do you have anything to add? Leave it in the comments.

To put it simply here is a break down of some key differences between Web 2.0 and 1.0:
Web 1.0 had webmaster created sites, Web 2.0 has user driven sites
Web 1.0 used dial up, Web 2.0 uses broadband
Web 1.0 was about business, Web 2.0 is about community
Web 1.0 had AOL, Web 2.0 has Google and (now) Bing

Want more information?  Here are some helpful links.

Key differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0



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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very helpful. Thanks.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image


      9 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you I was wondering what the difference was between the two good article

    • theboxmeister profile image


      9 years ago

      First of all, I am glad that I am the 1'st one to comment here. Nice presentation.

      Now, to get to the point, I think that the only difference between web 1 and web 2 is all about who has control. Users have taken control over the web with web 2.


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