Updating an earlier post, I have expanded the description of the characteristics. For the origins of the term, you can check out this article by Tim O’Reilly.

Many Web 2.0 sites have an option to sign up or register with the site. You should always read over the Privacy Policy and the Terms of Service before contributing content to a site.

Web 2.0 includes websites that exhibit some of the following characteristics:

APPLICATIONS

The web site can deliver an application such as a video player, a word processor program or music player for example. The applications are embedded in the site and run online. In many cases, you do not need to install anything on your computer to run the applications from the website.

Examples: Google Docs Animoto LastFM

USER GENERATED CONTENT

Users can edit, manipulate or own the content they post to a site. The content is commonly in the form of videos, images and text.

Examples: Blogs Fan Fiction Creative Commons Trip Advisor YouTube
USER PARTICIPATION

User participation adds to the content of the website. This can be in the form of publishing user content or adding reviews of posted content. Even commercial sites like eBay or Amazon have a high level of user participation in the reviews of products and sellers.

Examples: Reviews on Internet Movie Database Delicious Wikipedia

SIMPLE INTERFACE

An easy to use interface can make the difference for a web 2.0 site. If it is difficult to understand or hard to create content on a site, users will be less likely to use and recommend it to others.

Examples: iGoogle Toondoo

SOCIAL NETWORKING

Social Networking sites allow users to connect with other users. Some sites are purely social allowing users to connect with friends however, social networking sites can also create networks based on a particular theme. Social Bookmarking sites allow users to share their favorite links.

Examples: Facebook MySpace Hi5 Orkut CyWorld Digg

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