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Web 2.0: Too Good to Be True?

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 02-07-2008 Print

The benefits are clear, but the downfalls are becoming more evident.  

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Web 2.0 tools open a fresh can of worms. Still, it's tough to put a price tag on the potential damage. Critical corporate data is priceless, as is customer information. Aside from hard dollar costs, the PR nightmares that come with reports of data thefts are enough of an impediment to adoption.


But it's not all bad news for Web 2.0. In the KPMG study, three of four executives said they believe collaborative tools will foster innovation in their companies. And almost 70 percent agreed that Web 2.0 will help their people work more efficiently. A study by Change Wave Research, which surveys companies and industries, found that 39 percent of respondents are willing to use Web 2.0 tools.


Web 2.0 outlets are also flexing their muscle in the 2008 presidential race. Democratic Illinois Senator Barack Obama uses social networks to build support, and Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul has used the Internet to raise unprecedented one-day dollars (the record at press time was $6 million, on December 16). Blogs on each side of the political spectrum are shaping the debate and checking candidates on their often exaggerated claims.


Of course, surveys don't always tell the full story. There's still the question of where Web 2.0 for business goes from here. In the past few months, Microsoft and Google have made major moves in this space--particularly in social networking, where Bill Gates and company bought a stake in Facebook and the Googleplex reintroduced its own social net offering, with numerous notable partners.


The bidding-up isn't likely to stop anytime soon. Many tech cognoscenti point to some corners of Web 2.0 as the next great Internet boom. More companies are bound to bring in these tools, looking for a boost in productivity, efficiency and morale.


But if the alarming survey results are any indication, CIOs and their colleagues will be looking more closely at the potential downside.  


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