Cringely's views on the transition to Web 2.0:
Web 2.0 -- the next version of the World Wide Web -- is getting a lot of press lately in nerdish circles, but the terms in which it is being described often don't make sense to me. There is a lot of data stored today on the web that isn't accessible using traditional search engines, leading to what Bob Wyman calls the visible, invisible, and gray webs. Visible is web data we use today, mainly with the help of Google. Invisible is data that is ignored by Google and the other search engines. And the gray web is filled with data that we can search, perhaps, but can't understand. Imagine using an English-language search engine to search a Persian-language web site. The way out of this, to a new dawn where visible, invisible, and gray data alike are available to us, is through Web 2.0 (sometimes called or confused with the so-called "semantic web"), where we will use metadata (primarily XML) to advertise our needs and disposals to the world.
This is a huge leap for anything as established as the Web, to say that we are going to add an overlay of metadata so that you can not only share with the world a picture of your car, but also set terms under which you'd sell that car.
Here is what Web 2.0 WILL be, in my view: a new way of structuring Internet businesses around published APIs, Application Programming Interfaces. New companies will spring up that simply glue web-based APIs together. For example, Google Maps plus accident reports for insurance companies, or Amazon plus eBay plus Froogle for purchasing departments.
Forty percent of eBay's business comes through APIs today. Think about it.
Web 2.0 will be staffed by two different kinds of entrepreneurs -- those who provide staunch web services exposed through APIs (Amazon, eBay, Google, and a bunch more), and those who glue those services together and make some sort of useful abstraction service.