The TechCrunch Guide to the Web 2.0 Summit

The seventh annual Web 2.0 Summit wrapped up yesterday after an exciting week of panels, interviews, and discussions at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The star-spangled lineup for this year’s events included Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, and big-ticket investors like John Doerr and Fred Wilson.

For Web 2.0′s theme this year, conference co-organizers Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle chose “points of control,” explaining, “Fifteen years and two recessions into the commercial Internet, it’s clear that our industry has moved into a competitive phase—a ‘middlegame’ in the battle to dominate the Internet Economy. At this year’s Web 2.0 Summit, we’re focusing on these shifting points of control—strategic chokepoints on an increasingly crowded board.”

According to the event’s symbolic map above, territorial rivalries have begun to manifest in the technology world — as have areas of conflict. A conversation between New York Magazine’s John Heilemann and VC big wigs John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins) and Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures) exemplified this, as the group argued over meaty, contentious issues like whether the tech industry is in a bubble or boom cycle, innovation on the East Coast versus the West Coast, the state of investing and more. TechCrunch writer MG Siegler found it to be one of the highlights of this year’s event; check out his coverage here.

Mark Zuckerberg spoke about Facebook’s new mail client, known as “Facebook Messages,” which the company hopes will reflect the transition to “Next Generation Messaging,” as younger generations move away from using email. He also spoke about Facebook’s recent conflicts with Google, its proposed role as an “enabler” of innovation among small start-ups hoping to disrupt traditional verticals, and, perhaps most interestingly, discussed why focusing on “points of control” overlooks the most critical territory in the industry’s landscape — its “uncharted” waters. Watch the video and read Alexia Tsotsis’s take here and Jason Kincaid’s in-depth review here.

Other points of interest include Twitter Founder Evan Williams’ discussion of the company’s complicated relationship with Facebook and how Twitter has been secretly assigning each of its individual users a “reputation score.” Eric Schmidt also showed off a “Nexus S” and said that we might expect the arrival of Gingerbread in the “next few weeks.” Just in time for Christmas? Peep Devin Coldewey’s analysis here.

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