CityDashBoard TalesofThings MapTube
Qrator Tutorials About Digital Urban
MRes ASAV SurveyMapper Contact Us


The Top 5 Technology Buzz Words

Having recently come back from a conference on e-social science and been busy preparing a new paper it came to note the increasing number of 'buzz' words that have recently emerged.

Some of them we fully embrace and some are just words that people pop into conversation to make it sound like they know what is going on. As such we present this week's current buzz words to drop into papers, grant applications or in meetings:

1) The Cloud

Wikipedia defines The Cloud as:
A popular phrase that is shorthand for applications that were developed to be rich Internet applications that run on the Internet (or "cloud"). In the cloud computing paradigm, software that is traditionally installed on personal computers is shifted or extended to be accessible via the Internet. These "cloud applications" or "cloud apps" utilize massive data centers and powerful servers that host web applications and web services. They can be accessed by anyone with a suitable Internet connection and a standard web browser.
Tony Hey, Vice President for Technical Computing at Microsoft speaking at last weeks Third International Conference for E-Social Science, noted that Microsoft is planning to role out a number of new services services that are delivered in The Cloud, where users don't care where they are stored, they just use the services.

As such The Cloud is the current number one buzz word, see also The New York Times: Why Can't We Compute in the Cloud?

2) Social Shaping

Steady at number 2 is Social Shaping, although not a new term by any means it crops up a lot in papers and grant applications at the moment. In short the term can be linked back to MacKenzie and Wajcman's 1985 publication 'The Social Shaping of Technology' where they state that the characteristics of a society play a major part in deciding which technologies are adopted.

With the rise of Web 2.0 based technologies the concepts behind social shaping provide an interesting take on which technologies come to the forefront and we would argue the ever shortening lifespan of such technologies.

3) The Grid

Although at a respectable number 3, The Grid is increasingly being replaced in papers by mentioning Web Based Services, which it could be argued can also be seen as The Cloud. The Oxford e-Science Centre define The Grids as:
The name that describes the next significant development in Internet computing. A term first coined in the mid '90s to describe a vision for a distributed computing infrastructure for advanced science projects, the Grid was first properly explained by Ian Foster and Carl Kesselman in their book The Grid: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure
At the moment The Grid is still in the realms of compter science due to the lack of any useable middleware, although it is one to watch. Of note is Foster's recent book Grid 2, look out for Grid 2 on future lists...

4) Web 2.0

The term Web 2.0 has been around since 2004 and is still at the forefront of many academic discussions on the future of technology. Coming about as the result of a discussion between Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty on the status of the web, Tim puts forward a list from 2004 which puts the term into context:

Web 1.0
Web 2.0
DoubleClick --> Google AdSense
Ofoto --> Flickr
Akamai --> BitTorrent --> Napster
Britannica Online --> Wikipedia
personal websites --> blogging
evite --> and EVDB
domain name speculation --> search engine optimization
page views --> cost per click
screen scraping --> web services
publishing --> participation
content management systems --> wikis
directories (taxonomy) --> tagging ("folksonomy")
stickiness --> syndication

Wikipedia notes that Web 2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users.

Web 2.0 is perhaps our favourite definition as it could be argued that almost all of the research and tutorials on this blog are based on various Web 2.0 services.

See the top 100 players in Web 2.0 via Movers 2.0.

5) Google Apps

If any company has changed the face of geographic, e-science and e-social science research in general it is Google. From Google Maps and Google Earth too their web based office applications of Google Apps Google has allowed powerful communication and collaboration between the sciences.

Indeed it is difficult to go a few hours of every day without hearing the word Google, either in the pub, on the street corner or quoted in a paper.

So that concludes our current Top 5 buzz words, up and coming buzz words include Wikitecture 2.0, more on that in a future post, Web 3.0 and WikiMapia.


  1. You say Social Shaping is not a new term, to me it is! Grrrr, I must be getting old :-)

    Nice post, hv included a link to it from my blog aweBsome - all that's awesome on the weB

  2. Awesome... I'm trying to compile a list of the top 80s/90s technology buzz words... have any ideas? Thanks...