The idea of the ‘web as a platform’ was used to originally refer to Web 2.0 in 2004. The concept was basically that instead of viewing the internet as a place where users looked at data using small windows on their screens, it was actually the platform that allowed people to do things. However, this did not catch on. In fact, it is quite challenging to understand what it means.
Community and democracy
Both of these have been around for quite some time, but in limited formats online. The thing that makes them exciting is when they are combined with any applications that are possible with more modern browsers and AJAX. People were given the ability to express themselves like never before through Web pages. When Blogger was being setup for the first time, they thought it as a simple easy to use FTP client for Web pages. Now they allow a lot of people to go online and express their opinions.
However, it is more than just getting content on the internet. With Web 2.0 sites, one can combine data from different sources, even if they are sources that do not exist or you do not own control, and turn the same into data that people can use. For instance, a combination of Flickr tagged gallery of restaurants, a connection to Google Maps to find the said restaurants in your area and actual review people have written about the restaurants. A website that puts this up might not have photos from Flickr or may not own or have any of the data for the reviews. They may simple have an interface people can use to pinpoint where they are going or where they are and maybe even read reviews of the local restaurants or even attach a blogged review to those that have already been tagged. That is basically what Web 2.0 is.