Gartner Hype Cycle 2009: Web 2.0 Trending Up, Twitter Down

Analyst firm Gartner has just released its latest Hype Cycle white paper, detailing some of the biggest trends in technology this year. According to the report, cloud computing, e-books and Internet TV are at the “Peak of Inflated Expectations,” while this year’s biggest hit Twitter is said to have “tipped over the peak” and is just about to enter the infamous “Trough of Disillusionment.” Social software suites and other microblogging services are likewise starting their downward trend. Interestingly, web 2.0 is deemed to be nearly past the Trough and entering the “Slope of Enlightenment.”

One of our current topics of interest, RFID, is stuck right at the bottom of the Trough of Disillusionment. But another RWW hot topic, Augmented Reality, is on the rise.

Web 2.0, cloud computing, Internet TV and RFID are all labeled “transformational” by Gartner, meaning that they are predicted to have a big impact on the market. Microblogging is only ranked “moderate,” so Gartner doesn’t think that Twitter is a very meaningful technology.

We can’t help but feel that Gartner may be underestimating the impact of microblogging. It remarks that services like Twitter enable “new kinds of fast, witty, easy-to assimilate exchanges.” Microblogging is rated as having a “moderate” impact on business, however Gartner does not analyze the over-arching trend of Real-time web that microblogging exemplifies. They do make a good point that “channel pollution” is a current issue with these services, however this is where the ecosystem of search and filtering products – around Twitter especially – are proving their worth. See also our post earlier today about the new distributed forms of microblogging that may rise to take Twitter’s place over time.

Gartner states that Cloud computing is “changing the way the IT industry looks at user and vendor relationships.” It points to vendors such as Amazon.com, Google, Microsoft and salesforce.com.

Regarding eBooks, Gartner has a bob each way: “This technology is potentially revolutionary if the issues that have suppressed adoption are addressed.” It lists Amazon.com, Fujitsu, Plastic Logic and Sony as sample vendors.

Gartner’s conclusion about RFID is similar to our own – that it’s moving slowly. Gartner notes that “the number of leading retailers working with it [RFID] did not grow greatly through 2008 and will not grow significantly during the next two years.”

On Web 2.0, Gartner archly notes that “the Web 2.0 hype has peaked as constituencies vie for the next generation of the Web.” However it also puts Web 2.0 in the “early mainstream” and is bullish on its future. Note: we reviewed the latest attempt at the next buzzword, Web squared, last week.

Overall, this report is an interesting high level view of the state of technology. It’s quite business focused though, so Gartner perhaps overlooks some of the more exciting new consumer Web trends that we’ve been writing about this year on ReadWriteWeb: real-time Web, Internet of Things, mobile web, to name a few.

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