Editor's note: Every December the ReadWriteWeb team looks into the murky depths of the coming year and tries to predict the future. How did we do last year? Well, Facebook didn't go public, Google Wave didn't make a comeback, and Spotify didn't make it to the U.S. But our forecasts for Google Chrome, cloud computing, Facebook and something we called the "iTablet" were spot on. What's in store for 2011? All this week we've been posting our predictions. Let us know your prognostications in the comments.



Seamus Condron, Community Manager

1: Groupon will buy Foursquare, ushering in a new era of location-based commerce.

2: Kevin Rose will leave Digg, or sell it for a bargain basement price, then leave.

3: As many witnessed (by accident), the Facebook Pages product will be compeltely re-vamped and will allow brands to have a Facebook voice outside of their Page.

4: QR codes will finally score big with a mainstream industry: wine.

5: Online curation services like Storify will be more widely adopted by mainstream journalists and news organizations, providing a more social, contextual layer to reporting.

6: This time next year, we won't be talking about the glorious resurrection of Delicious.

7: Many Facebook users will continue complaining about privacy while never actually having visited their privacy settings.

8: A late 2011 RWW post will be titled "Flickr: In Memoriam"

9: The most overused word in the tech blogosphere will be: hacktivism.

10: Readers' Choice for Time's Person of the Year: Anonymous

Abraham Hyatt, Production Editor

1: A major digital news organization will acquire a once-major legacy news organization. Much handwringing will occur.

2: Africa and Asia (which have the largest share of worldwide mobile Web usage) are the mobile industry's 600 lb. gorilla. It's clear that those markets will end up playing a significant role in how the world consumes the mobile Web. Watch for more big names investing in developers in Africa.

3: News organizations will try to meet the growing demand for mobile content by spending a lot of money creating mobile apps. The apps will be mirrors of their websites and they'll be confused - like they were when they did the same thing with print and the Web a decade ago - when no one pays attention to them.

4: As micro-content creation - tweets, status updates, micro-blogging - becomes the norm for online communication, the number of people blogging - or creating any kind of long-form content - will continue to decrease. However, the number of people actually consuming and interacting with that kind of content will remain the same. A win for content creators, but will it increase the monetary value of what they create? Doubt it.

5: The availability of big data - massive sources of raw data - will increase. Some fantastic new tools for analyzing and displaying that data will appear. Very few people will use them but the people who do will blow our minds.

6: Curation will become an art form. Storify-like apps will proliferate.

7: The number of people who go online every day but visit fewer than 10 different sites a week will increase. Call it the Facebook bubble. As we predicted last year, for many people "Facebook" and "Internet" are becoming synonymous. They're a small minority, but they're growing - and they're not very happy when they have to leave that bubble.


Alex Williams, ReadWriteEnterprise and ReadWriteCloud

1: Virtualization will turn data centers into extended cloud environments. The term "private cloud" will become meaningless.

2: Developing apps from APIs will continue to become easier. The ability to explore an API will become more sophisticated and the automation to create the apps will open development to more people.

3: Big data, analytics and data visualization will force major changes in how user interfaces are developed.

4: Mobile virtualization will start to see adoption. The enterprise will see the value in creating distinct environment for apps and data on a mobile device. It will also mean that people will not have to carry two or more mobile devices.

5: The web content management space will extend as marketers move almost entirely online. Analytics, personalization and social technologies will integrate with CMS environments.

6: Telephony will continue to become more about messaging. Email, collaboration tools, activity stream technologies and other apps will further integrate with telephony APIs.

7: The network will flatten. Networking will move to center stage in importance as virtualization becomes standard practice in data centers and the cloud.


Jared Smith, Webmaster

1: A severe privacy breach strikes a location-based service, thrusting the issue of privacy on these networks back into the mainstream.

2: Verizon launches a CDMA iPhone 4 in the US; rumors of a LTE version erupt shortly afterward. Verizon's network sees strain it hasn't yet seen before.

3: Foursquare is going to start getting more into the acquisition game, cementing themselves as a long-term player and looking less and less likely as a takeover target.

4: News Corp. will spin off or shutter MySpace this year.

5: IE 9's release will bring with it a renaissance for Web designers: HTML5 and CSS3 will begin to hit mainstream in a very large way starting in 2011.


John Paul Titlow, ReadWriteBiz

1: Location-based apps like Foursquare will continue to slowly inch toward mainstream adoption. Local businesses will drive monetization and emerging technologies like geofencing will improve the user experience.

2: Tablet user adoption explodes, driven by Apple's iPad, which will see new competitors pop up left and right. Websites evolve accordingly, using HTML5 over Flash and simplified designs optimized for the tablet browsing experience. Tablet prices will drop down close to $200 by year's end.

3: The U.S. will finally get either Spotify or a Verizon iPhone. Maybe. Just one of them? Please? Oh, forget it...

4: Cablegate will pale in comparison to the secret information about governments and corporations that is released by Wikileaks and similar organizations, which will continue to crop up around the world.

5: By the end of the year, mobile payments will begin to approach mainstream status, as people increasingly whip out their phones instead of their wallets to pay for things.