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Bubble or bonanza for Web's new age?

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(CNN) -- Barely out of the shadows of 2000's dot-com downturn, Internet mania is back.

The first time around was not that long ago -- the great dot-com gold rush of the late 90s, powered by venture capitalist sugar daddies and excitable Nasdaq punters.

And by the millennium, it all came crashing down.

But today, a second boom is under way. One that is different from the last.

And it goes by the name "Web 2.0," a term used to describe a new, more collaborative Internet.

In the Web 2.0 era, start-ups want to be profitable from the outset and most are itching for acquisition, not IPO.

And there is a common theme that runs throughout -- get yourself connected.

The stars of Web 2.0 -- MySpaceexternal link, Flickrexternal link and YouTubeexternal link -- have new, inspired ways to connect and new ways to conduct business.

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of American media company O'Reilly Media, has organized the annual Web 2.0 conference for the past three years.

He expects the Web 2.0 principles currently being embraced at a consumer level to take off in big business.

"We are going to see the Web 2.0 principles move from the consumer Internet to potentially affect industries like the phone industry where people start to say, 'Wow, what else can we do that's Web 2.0 to give us an advantage over our competitors?'"

Over the past three years, the trend has bubbled to what it is today.

Back in 2003, Wikipediaexternal link, the Web site that uses "wikis" or group-editable Web pages, was a fledgling online resource. The site now one of the 10 most-visited sites in the world.

San Francisco-based Craigslistexternal link, which started as an e-mail list to friends and has turned into a global advertising powerhouse, and South Korea's Ohmynewsexternal link, which sees stories filed by an army of 40,000 "citizen reporters," are also powerful forces in the Web 2.0 world.

But Google is the goliath. With its very deep pockets, it has bought its way into the 2.0 club with a $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube. The company has embraced the movement in-house as well.

Google vice president Marissa Mayer says Web 2.0 is not just for play.

"I think there is a real business element that can be furthered by Web 2.0, which is the ability to create content, collaborate on content, can you create a spreadsheet?," she says.

"In the next few years it's possible most people will have the majority of their spreadsheets, Word docs, Web pages and pictures all shared online, stored in the cloud and accessible from everywhere. You'll decide who you want to share it with and whether or not you want it to be public."

Take Salesforce.comexternal link. It "mashed up" Google maps and its own sales software to create a mobile tool for sales reps to manage and share their contacts.

But for business to fully embrace social networking, it is still early days.

A very human desire to connect has brought forth blogs, wikis, photo and video sharing, and business models yet to be born.

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