The idea of the moment is web 2.0. Before it, the web was a â€˜lean backâ€™ experience like TV, in which official content providersâ€™ websites were passively consumed by the rest of us. Web 2.0 will have more to do with social networks and content generated by users â€“ a â€˜lean forwardâ€™ experience in which consumers become creators.
There are already more than 1,000 such sites: Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia written by users; Flicker, a photo sharing site; Face book, which enables social networking; and Digg, in which the community selects news stories. But the race is now on to turn Web 2.0 into a commercial proposition.
Inside Ritual Coffee Roasters in San- Francisco, there are 20 and 30 some things working intently at laptops. They are not merely logging on to My Space or You Tube or The Next Big Thing. They plan to be The Next Big Thing. Itâ€™s boom time again in Silicon Valley and there is opportunity around every corner. Every month 4180m is invested in technology companies aspiring to change lives.
Itâ€™s a lot easier to start a company now but standards are far higher, says Christian Perry, 22, just graduated from Chicago. He is running ZapTix, an online ticket agency, set up from a coffee shop for just $14,000.
â€˜the brilliant brains of students and geeks, businessmen and scientists, angel investors and venture capitalists are feeding and thriving off each other, sparkling the kind of electricity one imagines filled the air of northern England during the Industrial revolution. A whole new world wide web is on the horizon. Everyone has a business plan. We work with a lot of start-ups. Everybody wants to be My Space â€¦ but the best products grow out of trying to solve a problem, not copying a success story.
The new My space is blue dot:
Click on a blue dot when you find something you like on the web, store it & share it with friends. Receive updates of friendsâ€™ selections of blue dots, follow their interests.
Know where everyone is by looking down at a phone. Mobile phones send a â€˜beatâ€™ to a phone mast or satellite every 15 minutes pinpointing their location. Info can be shared with friends.
Now search beyond just keywords. To be launched, the â€˜natural languageâ€™ search engine will identify â€˜functionâ€™ words; understand word order and the importance of small â€˜stop wordsâ€™.
Volunteer reviewers, or Yelpers, write about local restaurants, shops, doctors â€“ anything worth reviewing. Combine the eagerness to share, social networking search tools.