Certainly not in any case at the Web 2.0 Summit, held at this very moment in San Francisco. Surprising, since it is with this same conference that it all began in November 2004. We expected Tim O'Reilly, and the speakers of the summit, to discuss the future of this great movement, the participatory and collaborative Web. And we came in great numbers to hear the good word: more than a thousand. It's packed! Well, no. The only Web 2.0 is in the name of the “summit.” They talk about energy, notably John Doerr, head of Kleiner Perkins (the investment fund behind Google), with Al Gore or Elon Musk (the head of Tesla, who makes electric sports cars for millionaires....). There’s a lot of talk of politics, and Obama’s election of course, with just about everyone, in fact. Even the mayor of San Francisco made the trip. And they talk mostly about the appointment of the US CTO and the new administration’s technological program. There’s even bicycle talk with Lance Armstrong … for example.

As far as Web 2.0’s heavyweights: they have nothing to say. Yahoo’s! Jerry Yang launches a heartfelt and pathetic call for Microsoft to come to his rescue. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook says nothing, and Google sends Larry Brilliant, head of its Foundation, to show how cool and kind they are. And Chris Wolfe, head of Myspace ... he’s reluctant to say that he might be beginning to build an iPod competitor. Not really web 2.0 at all.... Of course, they also speak of the gloomy economic context ... feigning some optimism for 2009. Without believing it too much.

It was neat, Web 2.0. At least we knew where we were going, even if it didn’t really mean too much ... Come on, O'Reilly, find us a clever new umbrella term.

By Dominique Piotet