The nature of Internet and the variety of its services is constantly evolving. Nowadays, Internet has become not a place for searching information, but rather a place for socializing, sharing opinions and entering the world community. The number of web services and areas covered by these services is impressive; actually, it is difficult to find a sphere of human life where web developers would not offer a bunch of new solutions and ideas.
The image of Internet in 1990s is currently called Web 1.0; now one can witness the increased interactivity and user-friendly face of new Internet, which is referred to as Web 2.0. The aim of this essay is to analyze the development of joost.com and the web 2.0 services used at this site.
1. Web 2.0 advantages
Web 2.0 refers to the second generation of web development and web design. It is characterized as facilitating communication, information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web. (Bell, 2009) However, there is no clear opinion, what services and technologies should be classified as Web 2.0. The idea of Web 2.0 means rather a set of characteristics used to distinguish between the old Internet technologies and new ones.
There are several distinct features of Web 2.0:
Ã¼Â Â Â User-centered design
Ã¼Â Â Â The so-called crowdsourcing (users act as content creators, not only as consumers)
Ã¼Â Â Â Web-based applications replacing desktop applications
Ã¼Â Â Â Collaboration of user community
Ã¼Â Â Â Decentralization of power
Ã¼Â Â Â Dynamically generated content
Ã¼Â Â Â Openness of web services and projects
Ã¼Â Â Â Search engine optimization
Ã¼Â Â Â User communities
The technologies used for creating Web 2.0 sites (or, rather, they should be called web applications) are usually XHTML, ASP.NET, PHP, Ajax, CSS 2.0, Flex, Flash etc (Vossen & Hagemann, 2007). These technologies allow to create a personal space for each user within each service. All the content is heavily customized and can be easily adjusted for user’s needs. One can notice several web services that are the realization of web 2.0 ideas. Among the most known such ideas are blogs, social networks, tagging and social bookmarking, multimedia content sharing, wikis, RSS and syndication, tracking and filtering content, aggregation and recombination of data from different sources, podcasts etc.
2. What is Joost?
Joost is an Internet TV service, offering online channels and multiple services such as video sharing, tagging, socializing and communicating with friends, commenting the videos etc. The project was launched in 2006 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis the creators of Skype and Kazaa (Buford & Heather & Lua, 2008). Until 2008, Joost was represented by a desktop application, based on p2ptv technology and offered high video quality which could be compared with TV quality. The videos were not stored at the server, but were stored and exchanged between users, as it was done in p2p clients like Torrent and Kazaa. This allowed to enhance download speed and deliver quality service. News updates, discussion forums, show ratings and many other additional options created interactive version of the TV. Joost used to offer interactive versions of existing channels. Since the end of 2008, Joost application was discontinued and online video website of Joost was introduced instead. The website complies with modern web 2.0 standards and has a number of new features compared to Joost desktop version. However, the content is now stored at the servers instead of p2p sharing.
3. Web 2.0 services used by Joost
Among the interactive Web 2.0 features used at Joost one may note:
Ã¼Â Â Â The features of social networking such as possibilities to invite friends, tag them, share tastes etc.
Ã¼Â Â Â Another social possibility participation in groups up to one’s interests
Ã¼Â Â Â Interactive video selection up to the user’s taste
Ã¼Â Â Â Adding comments and opinions
Ã¼Â Â Â Connection and interaction with one of the most popular social networks Facebook
Ã¼Â Â Â RSS and updates services
Ã¼Â Â Â Creating a collection of favorite videos
Ã¼Â Â Â Customization of website according to user’s preferences
Ã¼Â Â Â Interactive information about the video
Ã¼Â Â Â Blog service
Ã¼Â Â Â Possibility to add own videos at Joost (though with professional moderation)
The whole idea of Joost (at the times when it was an application) and the advent of p2ptv were quite revolutionary and excellent; however, the evolution of the Web and the quick growth of high bandwidth channels have reduced the importance of the idea. The conversion of Joost into a web service was, on one hand, quite reasonable and gave new possibilities for the project; on the other hand, without the p2p idea Joost has turned into a kind of video service like YouTube (Cesar & Geerts & Chorianopoulos, 2009). Despite the abundance of Web 2.0 services and ideas in the new version of Joost, it does not represent a unique idea now. Actually, the success of the project now depends highly on the efficiency of reacting to users’ wishes and interactivity. Also, in my opinion, there is one distinctive feature of Joost its content is not user-generated, but professionally generated. Currently, when the users are not offered comfortable possibilities for adding and sharing content, they regard it as disadvantage; on the other hand, the quality of the content on Joost is much higher than on user-ruled video services. If there is a reasonable balance between user content and professional content, Joost will stand out as a successful project; otherwise, it will get lost in the majority of online video services.