Just as there's no shortage of Web 2.0 definitions doing the rounds currently, there are just as many Web 2.0 debunkings - or attempted ones (in both cases). Probably the best Web 2.0 anti-hype post or article I've seen so far is VC Rick Segal's post entitled Web 2.0 != a check. He's a bit sick of entrepreneurs sending him Business Plans quoting "Web 2.0" and associated catchphrases. He writes:
"Don’t put “Web 2.0” in your presentation. Don’t quote me Tim O’Reilly, Bill O’Reilly, or anybody else talking about Web 2.0. Don’t tell me in your email that you are on the leading edge of Web 2.0. [...] enough already with this Web 2.0 nonsense. We are doing the same thing we always do when “new” has “newer” come along. We hype the snot out of it and crap all over the ‘old stuff’.
The funny thing is, I empathize with Rick on this. What VCs look for (I think) is business fundamentals, plus serious potential to earn money or dominate a particular market. That's the crux of a business plan, not whether the product is made with AJAX or features tagging.
Rick finished his post by giving us a kind of definition of Web 2.0, but minus the buzzwords:
"Lots of Bandwidth = You can do it on the web as a service
Lots of Storage = You can give people rich content because they can get it quickly
Lots of users = “Everybody” can get to an Internet connection
Free is good = You can do a lot, code a lot, market a lot, without spending tons of money."
Which is a good practical way to define what this current generation of the Web offers. Whether you call it Web 2.0 or not is entirely up to you, but actually I think we're all talking about the same thing - aren't we?