Web 2.0 is a nebulous term. It implies an upgrade, a better version of what has come before. It includes innovations in the ways we think about and use the inter-net. Just like the growth of Web 1.0 before it, this new incarnation of the net is set to change the way businesses function and how entrepreneurs interact with customers, employees and colleagues.

Depending on who you ask, this second generation of the web is either an evolution or a revolution, but most likely it?s somewhere in between. ?It?s a blurry term,? says Jason Fried, 32-year-old founder of web-based software company 37Signals in Chicago, whose revenue increases by about 10 percent each month. ?It puts the focus too much on technology, [which] isn?t what?s important now. What?s important is building simple things that people can use.?

Web 2.0 is a people-oriented technology movement. Ease of use, social features, collaboration, fast-loading applications, interactivity, quick development times and real-time updates are all major trends. Instead of a million features packed into one expensive software program, you get smaller, sleeker online applications that aim to do just a few things very well. It?s good news for the pocketbooks of growing businesses, because these applications usually come in free versions or are available for an affordable subscription price that doesn?t tie you into a long-term contract. Getting onboard with Web 2.0 isn?t a matter of if, but when.

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