Internet has become an essential part of our lives and there is no denying that we cannot live without it. Computer is merely a tool, but the web is a powerful object which affects lives of billions across the globe. It acts in two ways. It acts as a large storage bank of data and it also acts as the connecting wire to millions of computers providing that data. The sudden change in the web usage arose when there was too much information to keep up with. This change brought about the birth of Web 2.0 – a technology that not only gives access of information to the user but also gives him the freedom to modify it, to his personal satisfaction and usage.
Web 2.0, technologically, is an advance form of the original Web 1.0. In this new version, information is broken up into “micro-content” units that are distributed over dozens of domains. Web now provides a wide range of new tools to aggregate and remix micro-content in many new combinations depending upon the usage of information. It has been designed to enhance creativity, secure information sharing, collaboration, communication and functionality of the web. RSS aggregators, search engines, portals, mash-ups, networking are just some of the many features of this web.
One of the most entertaining tools of this web is networking. Networking sites have mushroomed since the past few years and have become an addiction or a necessity, whichever way one looks at it. They range from becoming a part of different groups to dating, friendship, social, business and work. If once we become a part of it, it seems hard to let go. Not only entertainment, networking functions as a smart work equipment as well. A person in India can now easily be acquainted with some other person living many thousand miles away. It saves time, energy, transportation and money in interacting with people around the globe. There is much easy transfer of information and ideas (media) from one geographical location to another. There are various online communities, Think being one example, which connect thinkers and people with views and opinions on one platform.
Web 2.0 is about building event driven experiences, rather than just sites – as quoted by The Digital Web Magazine. This brought about the concept of RSS feeds. “RSS feeds” is a tool that helps a regular visitor of a site to be informed in all new changes or “feeds” made on that web page. So the user is now informed personally about the changes being made on a website. It, hence, connects the user to the website rather than just being a page displaying data. The newsletters a user receives from any informative website, is just a subset of these feeds.
Users now even have the freedom to share their own data. In web 2.0, users are now adding their own “metadata”. On Flicker and del.icio.us, any user can attach tags to digital media items (files, bookmarks, images). If a user tags a web page on a certain topic, he can also access the other pages that have been tagged by different users in a similar manner. This enhances search portals and saves an enormous quantity of time.
Web connects places and also helps in smart movement. And then, how can shopping be left behind? Amazon.com and eBay.com are premier websites for shopping lovers and also for those who are in search of those commodities that they probably would never have heard of before. This gives a great platform to virtual markets and also to a booming business.
No doubt the web now is just for “me” and how “I” use it. But great technologies always come at a cost. Online thefts still happen at virtual shopping complexes, identity thieves still lurk in networking sites and terrorists still own websites. More freedom gives more doors for contamination. Using internet technologies, terrorists can easily track down locations and places in any country (using tools like Google earth) or contact and send information to their fellow mates who live at distant places (messengers). They can also steal identities of innocent people to find information using networking.
This calls for a lot of vigilance and regulation. National Security Agency of the U.S. tracks down information sent via web in turn to track down terrorists. They also maintain databases of identities (including fingerprints) of criminals and terrorists.
After being a victim of so many attacks, India is definitely taking up new measures to strengthen the intelligence to fight terrorists. One of the ways to strengthen the Indian Intelligence is to have a special unit of smart hackers and web specialists that can track down location of terrorists. At the very least, such hackers in India should now be given more importance; for the Web 2.0 is just a baby, when it grows; the scenario will be quite un-imaginable.
[Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/jvk/169479152/]