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The 10 Best Web 2.0 Tools


Web 2.0 Tool
Description
1 Dropbox Dropbox is a Web 2.0 tool that provides you with a huge online storage platform where you can store any file you wish, and access it anytime you want, from anyplace in the world (as long as you have a compatible device and a working internet connection). The service is hosted on the cloud implying that all data is hosted on remote servers. Dropbox app can be installed on your smartphone or even a computer, through which you can log into your Dropbox account and sync all the files existing on that device/computer.

This Web 2.0 tool is actively used by millions of people throughout the world, to safely store their files in one place, and easily access them on the go. What makes Dropbox very special is its user-friendly nature, as it provides an elegant and simple method for people to store and access their information. Any file added to Dropbox on a certain device will get automatically uploaded to the cloud storage, and can be used on any other device that’s linked to your user account. You can also access that file through the Dropbox website.

This Web 2.0 tool not only helps you store all your files in one location, you can share specific files with whoever you want to, or even invite other people to access your Dropbox folder. This special Dropbox feature makes it the perfect tool to collaborate with others and work as a team on projects. It can even be used to plan events or share some kind of information with your friends and family. So, you can create a Dropbox folder with relevant data and then invite your family or friends to access the folder for vacation pictures, event planning or whatever you want to do with them together.

More information: Dropbox.com
2 Wikis If you work in an environment where there is plenty of scope for collaborative teams, you can make use of wikis to make things smoother and more efficient for yourself, and everyone else. Wikis are nothing but web systems which allow for multiple users to collaborate with each other on the same web-based document. Wikipedia is the most popular wiki on the Internet today, which has gradually emerged as a massive online encyclopedia. It’s become so huge that anytime you do a search on Google, it would inevitably run across Wikipedia as well.

Wikis can turn out to be an amazing productivity tool if you allow your customers, suppliers and employees to regularly exchange information and knowledge with each other, through them. They can in fact become the digital knowledge base of a company. However, one thing that must be factored in here is that there is a certain level of internal monitoring required in case of wikis, especially in case of larger organizations.

Project collaboration is by far the most effective and commonly seen use of wikis. Although Wikis don’t have any comprehensive resource management features usually found in the project management tools, they are nevertheless excellent for sharing and exchanging information on a project.

More information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki
3 WordPress and Blogger WordPress is an open source online web development tool that’s written in PHP, and uses MySQL in the backend. Considered by far the most powerful and easiest tool for blogging purposes, and also a comprehensive website CMS (Content Management System), hundreds of thousands of blogs on the Internet are created using WordPress.

Blogger on the other hand is another highly popular blog publishing service which enables you to create multi user blogs, featuring timestamp entries. Originally a product of Pyra Labs, Blogger was taken over by Google in the year 2003. All blogs created on Blogger are hosted in the form of a subdomains at blogspot.com.

These two websites go hand in hand when it comes to creation of Web 2.0 blogs that feature high levels of engagement with the readers. Both provide amazing creative platforms for creation of blogs, either for business purposes or just as a hobby.

Many people use WordPress and Blogger for creation and maintenance of blogs that are primarily used as a sales and marketing tool. Other than that, many use these blogs in the form of a productivity tool for sharing and recording of information.

More information: Wordpress.com and Blogger.com
4 Basecamp In the earlier days, people used to create project plans in either Microsoft Project or some other semi collaborative or standalone project management utility. Majority of the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) manage their projects using some free tool like Microsoft Excel or from within the MS Outlook. Project collaboration used to be very limited back in those days. However, entrepreneurs of today can make use of efficient web-based project management Web 2.0 tools like Basecamp to significantly streamline their business activities and improve productivity.

What makes tools like Basecamp so efficient is that you’re not required to install any extra software on your laptop/computer or mobile device. As long as you have a working Internet connection and a good web browser, you’re good to go. You simply need to sign up and begin the project management process.

The payments are also on a monthly basis and is there is no huge initial investment involved. In case of larger business teams or more complicated security requirements, you might need to spend some extra time to set up relevant online tools. However you’d still be up and running in a fairly quick time (compared to other tools).

Basecamp offers all the major project management features people expect from such a tool. Hence, you can easily manage various projects, plan them well and assigned team tasks for it. Apart from that, you can also schedule milestones and set up various to-do lists. Relevant tools are also provided for time tracking and management & approval of timesheets.

More information: Basecamp.com
5 Voki Voki is a freely available Web 2.0 tool which can be used for creating impressive talking avatars. You can customize their characters and make them look like cartoons, animals, historical figures and even yourself! There is even a Voki Classroom which you can join by paying a nominal fee and get access to more number of options, apart from the ability to control and change the privacy settings.

Normally all Vokis have a 60 second recording limitation, and you can use either a computer-generated voice or your own. The voice can be added through different methods including typed-in text, phone recording, audio files or through a microphone. Many professionals and students use Voki as a part of bigger projects or for completing quick assignments.

It’s very easy to create a Voki fairly quickly. Even if you use the free version, you can use all kinds of characters and options to create an impressive avatar. The appearance of the stock characters can be customized and the background images can be altered. These Vokis can be published directly to websites, as a copy/paste hyperlink or in the form of an embedded code.

This Web 2.0 tool is extensively used in teaching environments. For instance, a subject or lesson that a teacher is presently teaching in the class, he/she could assign students to create a video clip avatar that would summarize the teachings from the classroom sessions and lectures. These avatars could then be posted on to a shared student website, where they can be viewed and reviewed by the teachers and students.

More information: Voki.com
6 Animoto If you’ve ever tried putting together a decent slideshow, you’d be aware how tedious and painstaking the process can be. Animoto works as an excellent solution to this problem.

It is essentially a cloud-based video-creation Web 2.0 tool that can help you produce some stunning videos by incorporating video clips, pictures and music (from your device or system) into the video slideshows. You are allowed to select from a wide range of sleek video styles, add some song/s to the clip and you’d be done! The resulting video can be shared easily on Facebook, Twitter or via email.

The program has the ability to help you create top-notch marketing and/or personal videos using this method. There is a wide range of customization options in the form of layout, colors and audio. This tool is mainly targeted at amateurs and individuals who wish to create pro-level videos, but want a simple and easy-to-use tool to do so.

The application has already been downloaded millions of times and has also featured in National Geographic, CNN, WSJ, Wired, NBC, NYTimes and many more places. This tool is available on Facebook and in the form of iPad, android and iOS apps. There is also an Animoto plug-in available for the Adobe Lightroom.

More information: Animoto.com
7 Prezi Essentially a cloud-based productivity application, Prezi helps you in creation of presentations which are very different from the conventional PowerPoint presentations. Rather than using a sequence of slides or some type of animated video, Prezi presentations enable you to zoom in and out of a large sized canvas, starting by focusing on a set of videos or images, or a block of text, and simply switching to the other images, videos or text on the canvas, whenever you want. You are allowed to zoom out of the entire canvas at any point of time, or zoom in to check any details.

It delivers a very engaging and dynamic effect, making deeper user interactions possible, quite different from the regular slide after slide presentations. Prezi can even be used in the form of a collaborative brainstorming tool.

Prezi released a new product called ‘Prezi Business’ in 2016, featuring brand-new feature sets tailored for usage and interactions between business teams. Just like the original Prezi, Prezi Business can also be used for creating eye-catching presentations, enabling you to connect with audiences in a more engaging manner. However, how it differs from the original is that the design work flow is streamlined and there are some new features meant for efficient creation and delivery of presentations.

More information: Prezi.com
8 Google Docs and Spreadsheets Google Docs is a freely available web-based word processor that enables people to easily share their documents and collaborate with others online. Members of a community can be provided access to different documents as long as they have a computer or a smart phone connected to the Internet. Additional members can be invited to join in and share the documents too.

On the whole, Google Docs provides an easy means for accessing and exchanging information via Internet. Any changes made to the documents are saved on the Google servers by default, without the need of storing them on the local hard drive. Any time you open a file online, and make some changes to it, they get saved automatically, thereby preventing chances of any data loss.

The Web 2.0 tool also allows you to organize and save documents based on tags. That way, you can easily locate and access them whenever required, making you more organized. Not only do you get the ability to upload document files, but also presentations and spreadsheets. Various types of documents can be uploaded and edited including: Word documents, HTML OpenOffice, text files, .xls files, .pdf files, .csv files, .ods files, .html files and .ppt files.

More information: Docs.google.com
9 Twitter Basically a short messaging service, Twitter is a Web 2.0 tool that can be used over multiple devices and networks. It’s a free of cost microblogging and social networking service that is extensively used by people world over, for all kinds of purposes. Using Twitter, you can follow information originating from international sources regardless of where you may be. You could also keep track of the recent activities of your friends, in real time, as they happen.

The primary reason why Twitter has grown so much in popularity is its simplicity. It provides people with an easy to use Web 2.0 tool which they can use to stay in touch with others in the simplest, easiest and quickest manner. All tweets have a limit of 140 characters and are sent through instant message, mobile web, web and MSN. Unlike as in case of regular text messages, tweets get routed among the network of friends of the tweeter. Even strangers (referred to as followers) can subscribe to the tweets of people they wish to follow.

Twitter has rapidly emerged as a very important Web 2.0 marketing tool for businesses, politicians and celebrities in a short span of time. It promises an intimacy level that never existed in the online world, apart from giving people the ability to speak directly to institutions and other people.

Post a question on Twitter and you’d get endless number of answers in a matter of 15 seconds. No website, phone call or email messaging service can deliver that swift response.

More information: Twitter.com
10 Infogram Another extensively used Web 2.0 tool all over the world, Infogram allows you to easily create and share impressive infographics with others. It’s a web-based infographics and data visualization platform that’s based out of Riga, Latvia.

Infographics or information graphics are essentially graphical visual representations of any type of knowledge, data or information. These work very well in presentation of data in a captivating manner.

With Infogram you can select from a wide variety of predefined templates that can be edited online. You can create and share maps, infographics and digital charts with it. It provides an intuitive WYSIWYG editor that converts the provided data into an infographic which can then be used as per your liking. There are no coding skills required. All kinds of people ranging from students, educators, government establishments, marketing teams, newsrooms etc. make active use of Infogram for their different needs.

After you’re done creating your infographics, the Web 2.0 tool enables you to embed it into your own website or share it with others. The tool also has a Pro version that makes it possible for you to download the infographic as a high quality .png or.pdf file. In addition, you can easily import any kind of data from a .csv or .xls file directly into Infogram.

More information: Infogram.com



Web 2.0



When the Internet came around for the first time, it merely served as a place for storage and easy location of information. All content on the Internet was non-interactive and static in nature, in a manner that the website visitors could only read content. A good example of such content were personal webpages (or blogs) that used to contain information related to the site’s owner or news websites that use to publish news stories on a regular basis. However, readers weren’t allowed to make any contributions or post comments on such webpages.

Web 2.0 essentially refers to a combination of web design technologies that have brought about dramatic changes to how Internet works. The static webpages of the past have transitioned into highly dynamic webpages where readers can actively contribute content. People have been increasingly visiting news portals like CNN and making use of their iReport feature to post their own content; and are interacting with blog owners or their Facebook pages, as against just passively reading the content.

How a Web 2.0 website differs from its predecessor is the way in which it enables users to interact and collaborate with each other, as content creators in a virtual environment. They do this by using all kinds of web apps, blogs, wikis, video sharing websites (like YouTube, Dailymotion etc.), social networking portals (like Twitter, Facebook etc.) and more.


What are Web 2.0 tools?

If we talk about the Web 2.0 tools’ definition, they can be termed as web tools which enable users to go beyond just receiving information on the Internet. Everyone who uses Web 2.0 tools is expected to interact with the concerned website, and create content in collaboration with others. As also mentioned earlier, social media portals like Twitter, Facebook etc. are excellent examples of the modern-day Web 2.0 tools.

In a way, you might have already used all kinds of Web 2.0 tools without even being aware of it! We’ve already talked about social media portals above. Another good example in this regard is Wikipedia where millions of people look up explanations and definitions of various events and objects on a daily basis. Wikipedia allows users to generate their own content after proper proofreading.

The earlier Web 1.0 version of Wikipedia used to be a simple online encyclopedia that didn’t allow users to create and edit any content. While the content of the old-time online Wiki encyclopedia used to be static, whatever you read on Wikipedia these days is dynamic in nature as users can make changes to the content and make the information more comprehensive, relevant and accurate. Experts believe that such collective intelligence, when harnessed with the help of Web 2.0 tools can go a long way in generation of highly comprehensive and powerful content on the Internet.


Key features of Web 2.0

Folksonomy

Conventional websites like DMOZ and Yahoo directory used to employ predefined information classification methods such as categories and subcategories. Web 2.0 on the other hand enables the users to create their own information arrangements or classifications without any restrictions and without the need of abiding by any existing framework. It is also referred to as social tagging. Social bookmarking websites like Del.icio.us and Photo sharing portals like Flickr are good examples of this.

Rich user experience

Conventional websites used to be created with the help of technologies like CSS and HTML. The modern day Web 2.0 portals are created using HTML 5 (for development of interactive audio and video websites) and Ajax (acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML). The latter offer a rich and dynamic experience to the users.

All such technologies work as ideal replacements of the age-old SWF Flash media, enabling Webmasters to insert dynamic video content, right within the HTML code. If coded the right way, this technology allows videos to work inside any web browser, on any device, without any restrictions. As Web 2.0 doesn’t place any limitations on the Webmasters with regard to the usage of tools, the user-experience becomes richer than ever. Google Suggest and Google Maps are excellent examples of such experience.

User becomes the contributor

In the days of Web 1.0 websites, all information used to be provided by the website owner, and visitor only used to play the role of information consumer. The entire information model had a one way route.

Web 2.0 technology on the other hand enables users to become contributors, as they actively contribute to the web content through different means of commenting, reviewing and evaluation. E-commerce portals like Amazon.com are an excellent example of this phenomenon, as they allow customers to review different products. Google’s page rank mechanism also works on the same principle.

Long tail

Conventional websites used to essentially function like retail businesses where the products would be sold directly to the users, and result in revenue generation. However, in the modern day Web 2.0 websites, any niche product isn’t sold directly to the users, but is offered in the form of a service on demand. The income generated is mainly through pay per consumption or a monthly fee. A large majority of applications that you find in Google app store and the salesforce CRM services are good examples of this characteristic.

Participation of users

As also mentioned above, the content available on traditional websites used to be solely provided by the company or the person owning the website. However, in case of Web 2.0 technology, the users are equal participants when it comes to content sourcing. This phenomenon is also referred to as crowdsourcing and websites like YouTube and Wikipedia are typical examples of it.

The trust aspect

When it came to the conventional web, the content used to be protected under the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), however, in Web 2.0, the content is in fact produced and made available for sharing, reusing, re-distribution and editing purposes only! Creative Common and Wikipedia are excellent examples of this.

Dispersion

While in case of traditional web, the content used to be delivered in the form of direct website to home, in Web 2.0 system, content delivery can happen through multiple channels, including through permalinks and file- sharing on platforms like Mashup and Limetorrents.


Following are some broad categories that Web 2.0 elements can fall into:


Web 2.0 Element Categories

Wikis – These are websites which enable users to collaborate, contribute and make edits to the site’s content. Wikipedia is the most prominent and oldest example of wiki-based websites.

Nomadicity – This is the commonly used name for mobile computing, and it is about the rapidly emerging trend of users connecting to the Internet, and with each other, from wherever they may be right now. This trend has been greatly boosted by the technological developments in the smartphone industry, as well as increased usage of tablet PCs and other mobile devices, all in conjunction with the constantly evolving telecommunications industry.

Cloud computing – These Web 2.0 tools are to do with constantly increasing penetration of cloud computing, Web applications and SaaS (Software as a Service), as against locally installed services and applications.

Unified communications – These are characterized by integration of various types of call and cross media/multimedia message management applications that are controlled by individual users for social as well as business purposes.

Collaborative efforts-based solutions – These are collaborative efforts-based solutions devised specially for reaching out to a great multitude of participants, as well as their collective resources. Crowd sourced testing, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are good examples of such solutions.

Social curation – This is essentially about collaborative content sharing, wherein the content is around a particular topic or theme. Instagram, Pinterest, Digg and Reddit are commonly known types of social content curation portals.

User generated content – These are essentially about video, audio, image and written content, besides many other possibilities, wherein the matter is made freely available on the Internet by people who create it.

Mash ups – These are apps or webpages which integrate complementary elements from multiple sources

Social networking – This requires no introduction and is about expanding one’s social and/or business reach through connections with individuals. Some of the extremely popular social networking portals include Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.


There are all kinds of Web 2.0 tools available on the Internet, and majority of them have either free versions or are completely free of cost. Hence, selecting the best Web 2.0 tools for your needs can be extremely challenging sometimes.

We’ve carried out a thorough research into the huge variety of Web 2.0 tools being used these days and have shortlisted and detailed the top 10 of them in this write-up.