2012 Predictions: Richard MacManus

ReadWriteWeb is all about what’s next on the Web, so our team has been busy making their predictions for next year. Before I began writing my own, I took a look back at my predictions 12 months ago. Predictably, I had mixed success. But that’s a lot of the fun with predictions. Why not make some bold bets on the future, because that’s in the spirit of Silicon Valley. Plus it makes you think about what you wish will happen. Maybe, just maybe, a startup or bigco will make it happen for you.

This year I have 5 more predictions (and a bonus silly one). Leave a comment with your own predictions, to see if you can out-seer me!

First here’s a brief summary of how I did with my predictions last year, marking myself up to 1 point for each:

  • 1: Flipboard becomes the breakout news reading app of 2011. While Flipboard continued to expand, it was slow to move onto other platforms. The iPhone app didn’t appear until December. 1/2 point.
  • 2: eBooks will hit 20% market penetration by the end of 2011. The figure was 9.03% at the end of 2010, according to the Association of American Publishers. I got this one spot on, as AAP’s most recent stats put the figure at 20.76%. 1 point.
  • 3: Internet of Cars will be the surprise hit of the year. The Internet of Things continued to slowly build and car manufacturers like Ford iterated on their Internet functionality. While I’m tempted to claim Google’s driverless car prototype as a win, the reality is that my bullish prediction didn’t happen. 0 points.
  • 4: Internet TV tips and gets huge consumer uptake. Hmmm, Google TV bombed and Apple TV remains a hobby… for now. Maybe in 2012 it will tip? I’ll give myself 1/2 point for the success of TV-focused social apps.
  • 5: A major pop music star will do something amazing with web technologies, that blows open the online music scene. While it didn’t come from a major current pop star, like Lady Gaga or Kanye West, I believe that we saw a really amazing use of web technologies in Bjork’s 2011 album, Biophilia. The album was an iOS app, with an interactive app for each song. OK, it didn’t blow open the music scene. But it’s a sign of the future. 1/2 point.

Result: 2.5/5. I’m a bit disappointed in that. But as I said at the start, it’s all in good fun. So here I go again, with 5 more predictions!

2012 Predictions

1. This year’s Best BigCo, Amazon.com, will launch a media-focused social network. Kind of like what MySpace used to be. It will be to a place for you to socialize around your reading, listening and viewing activities.

2. Twitter’s usage will begin to wane, due to squeezing from Facebook and Google+. Maybe then Twitter will sell to Apple. Heck, predictions are no place for maybes. I predict Apple will buy Twitter!

3. Google’s Chrome browser will make dramatic inroads into Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, coming within 10-15% of it by the end of 2012. This will be due to mainstream people finally abandoning IE in droves. By the end of 2012, Chrome will have close to 30% of the market according to Net Applications (it currently has 17.6%) and IE will have just over 40% (it currently has 52.6%).

4. Facebook will have initial teething problems with its Timeline, but by end of 2012 it will be seen as a triumph – as millions of people begin to use Facebook over 2012 as their digital memory bank. I don’t know if that’s a brave (new world?) prediction or not, but right now there are a lot of skeptics about Timeline. So I’m firmly betting on Timeline being a big success for Facebook in 2012.

5. Music acts will start to truly tap into the power of the iTunes LP. Currently most iTunes LP releases are simply a PDF file with a bonus video if you’re lucky. I predict that in 2012 many more bands and musicians will include multimedia in their digital albums and the braver ones will try to emulate Bjork and create stunning “app albums”. This is a bit of a re-hash of my music prediction last year, but I really want to see widespread innovation in the digital album!

6. Bonus prediction: Bill Nguyen of Color fame will convince Silicon Valley VCs to part with $100 million, to fund an amazing new type of smart TV. It will have 4D, Internet telepathy and a revolutionary new sensing feature called Smell This®. RWW Editor-in-Chief Richard MacManus will thoughtfully blog that it “may be the next Google.” The TV will flop before the ink is dry on the last VC cheque. A few months later, the futuristic telly will be re-branded as a way to consume Facebook frictionless sharing “on the big screen.”

[p.s. I love Bill’s spirit, I really do. I hope he does try for another New New Thing in 2012!]

Those are my predictions, now let me know yours 🙂

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