I had someone say this in a comment post that maybe Web 2.0 was just a Google affiliates program, given how every mash-up seems tied to Google. I see Marc Hedlund adding data to the point in a post from Web 2.0 conference:
I’m at the Launch Pad: A Dozen New Companies in One Sitting workshop at Web 2.0, and more than half of the companies have presented. I could have missed one, but I think every single one has demo’d Google Maps integration.
There are two ways of looking at this. Perhaps Google has already staked out the preeminent place as the platform provider of choice for people looking to pipe together web resources, and maybe maps are way more important than anyone ever guessed. In other words, maybe Google is already well on the way to becoming an Internet operating system, albeit for some very specific (and nerdy) subdomains, like mapping.
The other more cynical perspective is that there really isn’t very much here. We have one company, Google, that can afford to make available its resources and data, and so people are using it to build frivolous web services (see PublicLoos). The benefit to Google? The benefit of any affiliate program: More undiscerning traffic being steered to Google’s sites.