2007 was an eventful year in Web Technology, with the rise of Facebook, some frenzied acquisitions from the likes of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, and of course the iPhone. To round out the year (and put an end to the December lists!) here is a look at what we think were the 10 biggest Web tech stories of the year. They're ordered in terms of technology impact and innovation - however it's a subjective list, so let us know in the comments what you think should be in there.
This post doubles as the final Weekly Wrapup of 2007 -- it's been a great year and all the best everyone for 2008! Here's looking forward to more Web innovation and startup success in '08!
On January 9, 2007 Steve Jobs announced at Macworld "three revolutionary new products": an iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator. But turned out it was all one device: the fabled iPhone. This is our number 1, because it finally made the Mobile Web real for the influential US market (and the geeks who bought it in America, then took it overseas and unlocked it! cough).
Much has already been written about this announcement on May 24, but suffice to say that it ushered in a new era for social networks - where outside companies could deploy advanced functionality inside the Facebook site.
On April 13 Google acquired online advertising company DoubleClick, which set off a frenzy of acquisitions in this space - notably Microsoft's $6B purchase of aQuantive. The Google/DoubleClick deal confirmed that online advertising was in a bubble period.
At the end of October Google launched OpenSocial, a set of common APIs for building social applications across the web, in a bid to cut off Facebook's momentum with third party developers. Perhaps the biggest part of this news was the world's largest SNS MySpace joining OpenSocial the day after.
Despite mixed reviews of this e-Reader device with internet connectivity from Amazon, the Kindle promises to shake up the e-commerce giant's core business model - by delivering books electronically instead of the familiar brown box.
On July 23, eight Democratic presidential hopefuls took the stage in South Carolina -- a crucial early primary state -- for a debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube in which all of the questions were submitted by users of YouTube. The Republicans got their chance in September. In the same vein, 2007 also saw the MySpace/MTV Candidate Forums and the rise of web 2.0 tools in politics.
On Nov 5, Google announced an open-source mobile operating system called Android. This could significantly change the way that Mobile Web applications are developed.
On Feb 6, Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted his Thoughts on Music in the 'Hot News' section of the Apple website. In it he outlined why DRM should be abolished by record companies. And Jobs' pleas seemed to be heard by the record industry, with first EMI and then later Universal and Warner on AmazonMP3 ditching DRM.
Late this year Facebook announced a new advertising system that used retail data collected from its users. But after howls of privacy protests, Facebook had to back off some and make the system opt-in. It's also worth mentioning here another Facebook story that just missed this list: in October Microsoft invested in Facebook at a $15b valuation.
10. Adobe AIR
On June 10, Adobe officially unveiled Adobe Integrated Runtime, or Adobe AIR for short. Formally called Adobe Apollo, it is a cross-operating runtime developed by Adobe that allows developers to create Rich Internet Applications for the desktop. It was a close call between this and Google Gears (the offline browser plug-in), or Microsoft's Silverlight (a Flash-like plug-in) - both of which were also launched in '07.
What have we missed? What were your top Web tech stories of 2007?