By 1996 it became obvious to most publicly traded companies that a public Web presence was no longer optional.["citation needed] Though at first people saw mainly["citation needed] the possibilities of free publishing and instant worldwide information, increasing familiarity with two-way communication over the "Web" led to the possibility of direct Web-based commerce ("e-commerce) and instantaneous group communications worldwide. More "dotcoms, displaying products on hypertext webpages, were added into the Web.
Low interest rates in 1998–99 facilitated an increase in start-up companies. Although a number of these new entrepreneurs had realistic plans and administrative ability, most of them lacked these characteristics but were able to sell their ideas to investors because of the novelty of the "dot-com concept.
Historically, the "dot-com boom can be seen as similar to a number of other technology-inspired booms of the past including "railroads in the 1840s, automobiles in the early 20th century, radio in the 1920s, television in the 1940s, transistor electronics in the 1950s, computer time-sharing in the 1960s, and "home computers and "biotechnology in the 1980s.
In 2001 the bubble burst, and many dot-com startups went out of business after burning through their "venture capital and failing to become "profitable. Many others, however, did survive and thrive in the early 21st century. Many companies which began as online retailers blossomed and became highly profitable. More conventional retailers found online merchandising to be a profitable additional source of revenue. While some online entertainment and news outlets failed when their seed capital ran out, others persisted and eventually became economically self-sufficient. Traditional media outlets (newspaper publishers, broadcasters and cablecasters in particular) also found the Web to be a useful and profitable additional channel for content distribution, and an additional means to generate advertising revenue. The sites that survived and eventually prospered after the bubble burst had two things in common; a sound business plan, and a niche in the marketplace that was, if not unique, particularly well-defined and well-served.
In the aftermath of the "dot-com bubble, telecommunications companies had a great deal of overcapacity as many Internet business clients went bust. That, plus ongoing investment in local cell infrastructure kept connectivity charges low, helped to make high-speed Internet connectivity more affordable. During this time, a handful of companies found success developing business models that helped make the World Wide Web a more compelling experience. These include airline booking sites, "Google's "search engine and its profitable approach to keyword-based advertising, as well as "eBay's auction site and "Amazon.com's online department store.
This new era also begot "social networking websites, such as "MySpace and "Facebook, which gained acceptance rapidly and became a central part of "youth culture.
Beginning in 2002, new ideas for sharing and exchanging content ad hoc, such as "Weblogs and "RSS, rapidly gained acceptance on the Web. This new model for information exchange, primarily featuring user-generated and user-edited websites, was dubbed "Web 2.0. The Web 2.0 boom saw many new service-oriented startups catering to a newly democratized Web.
As the Web became easier to query, it attained a greater ease of use overall and gained a sense of organization which ushered in a period of rapid popularization. Many new sites such as "Wikipedia and its "sister projects were based on the concept of "user edited content. In 2005, three former "PayPal employees created a video viewing website called "YouTube, which became popular quickly and introduced a new concept of user-submitted content in major events.
The popularity of YouTube, Facebook, etc., combined with the increasing availability and affordability of high-speed connections has made video content far more common on all kinds of websites. Many video-content hosting and creation sites provide an easy means for their videos to be embedded on third party websites without payment or permission.
This combination of more user-created or edited content, and easy means of sharing content, such as via RSS widgets and video embedding, has led to many sites with a typical "Web 2.0" feel. They have articles with embedded video, user-submitted comments below the article, and RSS boxes to the side, listing some of the latest articles from other sites.
Continued extension of the Web has focused on connecting devices to the Internet, coined "Intelligent Device Management. As Internet connectivity becomes ubiquitous, manufacturers have started to leverage the expanded computing power of their devices to enhance their usability and capability. Through Internet connectivity, manufacturers are now able to interact with the devices they have sold and shipped to their customers, and customers are able to interact with the manufacturer (and other providers) to access new content.
"Web 2.0" has found a place in the English lexicon.
Popularized by Berners-Lee's book "Weaving the Web and a "Scientific American article by Berners-Lee, "James Hendler, and "Ora Lassila, the term "Semantic Web describes an evolution of the existing Web in which the network of hyperlinked human-readable web pages is extended by machine-readable "metadata about documents and how they are related to each other, enabling automated agents to access the Web more intelligently and perform tasks on behalf of users. This has yet to happen. In 2006, Berners-Lee and colleagues stated that the idea "remains largely unrealized".
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