Every year the ReadWriteWeb team tries its hand at predicting the future. Looking back at our 2009 predictions, we got some wrong (I predicted that Facebook would sign up to OpenSocial) but others turned out to be on the money. I correctly guessed that the usual suspects would remain unacquired in ’09 – Digg, Twitter, Technorati – but that FriendFeed would get bought. OK, so I guessed that Google would be the buyer. But close enough!
Without further ado, here are our predictions for 2010. We’d love to read your predictions in the comments.
SEE ALSO: ReadWriteWeb’s 2009 Year in Review. This series features our readers’ picks for the top products of 2009, our editorial selections for the best BigCo and best LittleCo of ’09, and our most promising company for 2010.
Richard MacManus, Founder & CEO, @rww
1. There will be a breakthrough consumer application for Internet of Things – involving the iPhone, RFID tags and a major consumer product such as books or groceries. In general, Internet of Things will ramp up in 2010, with thousands more everyday objects becoming connected to the Internet.
2. Google will acquire PostRank and promptly consign it to the same graveyard Feedburner went to.
3. Microsoft will acquire Wolfram|Alpha and Bing will continue to make small gains in the search market. Google will be distracted by increasing consumer complaints about content farms polluting Google search results.
4. A price war will erupt in the e-book market and Amazon.com will offer the lowest prices, leading to it gaining a dominant position in the market with its Kindle E-book Reader.
5. Google will partner with a large PC manufacturer from Asia, which will launch an inexpensive netbook powered by Chrome OS in the U.S. market. It will become a hot consumer item among school kids and university students.
Marshall Kirkpatrick, Lead Writer & VP of Content Development, @marshallk
1. Google Wave will win some respect back as people discover valuable uses for it and get used to the user experience.
2. Facebook will open aggregate-user-profile and social-graph data for outside analysis.
3. Some serious user interface innovations will blow our minds.
4. Data portability will become more real, standard, expected and viable.
5. A new social network will rise to join the big ones. It may offer the privacy that Facebook is moving away from; it may be mobile and location-centric; it may focus on personal content recommendations.
Sarah Perez, Feature Writer, @sarahintampa
1. MySpace doesn’t quite make a comeback, but gets a fresh start of sorts with its music and entertainment offerings. The Gen Y/Gen Z demographic sees growth on the site but the network’s overall numbers continue to decline.
2. Twitter launches ads.
3. TweetDeck finally launches a web version and becomes the number one Twitter client other than Twitter.com.
4. Cloud computing heats up. AWS, Google, Microsoft and others begin price wars to compete for customers.
5. The iPhone still rules and grabs more mobile market share than ever before.
6. Meanwhile, Android becomes the number two mobile platform by year-end.
7. iPhone app backlash begins. There are too many worthless apps and no decent way to find the good ones. Then Apple surprises us with a brand-new feature that improves greatly upon their “genius” offering to help us find new and useful apps via iTunes.
8. iTunes announces a web service, thanks to the Lala acquisition.
9. Spotify finally gets the green light in U.S. and people go nuts for it.
10. The netbook craze dies down. People start buying new “in-between” devices that are slightly larger and more powerful than today’s netbooks, but smaller, more lightweight and cheaper than regular notebooks. Features like better processors, separate GPUs and SSD HD options set these new “ultra portable” devices apart from the traditional netbook, but they’re still often called “netbooks” because of their size. Market confusion ensues.
Jolie O’Dell, Writer & Community Manager, @jolieodell
1. MySpace relaunches as a content network, leveraging the bands and filmmakers they already have on board and dropping the emphasis on social networking.
2. Twitter will find a monetization model and launch things like ads and pro features.
3. Facebook will become the Borg. Its number of users will continue to climb until the network is as ubiquitous as Google and lay people confuse Facebook with “the Internet.” They’ll make more money and control more data than ever before.
4. iPhone’s exclusivity with AT&T will come to a breaking point and we’ll see network-agnostic iPhones.
5. On the bright side, 2010 will signal the death of the login. Third-party authentications will become the norm, and user data will be entrusted to a discrete handful of online properties. Users will pitch a hissyfit if ever they’re asked to create a username and password and upload an avatar. After all, doesn’t the Internet know they have a Facebook?
6. File-sharing will continue to be shut down around the world; by 2011, we’ll all be downloading via Tor and the U.S. will have instituted a lame three-strikes-no-Internet policy.
7. Cybercrime will be more of an issue than ever. Expect to see a major governmental security breach in 2010, as the government continues to adopt 2.0 tech without strong and permanent infosec personnel and procedures in place.
Dana Oshiro, ReadWriteStart Writer, @SuzyPerplexus
1. AR: Geo-locational games and AR will come together in 2010. We’re going to see strange behavior from those playing zombie shooter games on their commutes.
2. Agree with Sarah: Netbooks and gadgets like the PsiXpda are going to gain ground.
3. Mobile Music: Offline music caching will be expected of all streaming music apps.
4. The browser really will be the new OS.
5. Payment Systems: Between Square, PayPal X and advances in Internet TV, we’re going to see payment options integrated in unlikely places.
Alex Williams, ReadWriteEnterprise Writer, @podcasthotel
1. Cloud computing will go through a shake out. There are just too many companies out there for the market to sustain. The big players will go on a buying spree. The consolidation will deeply affect users. Some companies will fold overnight. Users will lose access to their data, leading to a whole new wave of skepticism about cloud computing. But it won’t be enough to slow down the move to cloud computing. More companies will consider the security risks as less of a factor, compared to the cost benefits and potential for innovation. Cloud computing technology will become more of a commodity. The business applications for cloud computing will take center stage.
2. The big players will come back strong. IBM, SAP and Microsoft will innovate just enough to show big gains with customers.
3. Consumer-based social networks will make big efforts to gain wider access to the enterprise, as more companies seek to open up to the social Web. The information architecture of social networks will change to accommodate the greater degrees of control that the enterprise requires. This will bring on the rise of “social middleware” – services that act as a layer between social networks and the enterprise.
4. A new breed of social networks will emerge that act as one-stop shops for applications and services. These will look more like marketplaces than social hubs for conversations around the proverbial virtual water cooler. SaaS leaders will face off for this growing market.
5. iPhone, Android or the Blackberry? I expect the Android to be the talk of the enterprise, especially if the Google Phone does make it to market. Such a phone would eliminate carrier costs and break down walled gardens that have limited application development.
Sean Ammirati, COO, @SeanAmmirati
1. Facebook will go public and the IPO will be a huge financial success.
2. Hyperlocal advertising will heat up, delivering another nail in the traditional newspaper industry’s coffin. (Very similar to one of my 2008 predictions, but this time focused on the advertising aspects.) Specifically, it will be more common for a local establishment to pay marketing dollars to Yelp or FourSquare, for example, then their local newspaper.
3. Apple will release an “iTablet” and the world will be a better place for it. OK, more accurately we’ll all think the world is a better place for it.
4. Agree with Jolie regarding “the death of the login.” I’m hoping for open distributed alternatives along with Facebook and a handful of others.
5. Between Boxee’s continued development and a new AppleTV (hopefully synched with their iTablet), it will become much more common to enjoy the Internet on a TV.
Elyssa Pallai, Marketing & Experience Manager, @boulderservices
1. Skype becomes increasingly pervasive, as the younger generations force their parents to get online, and consumers find new and interesting ways to cut costs and save money.
2. Software as service becomes ever more popular, as businesses and governments choose to focus on their core business and realize the benefits of lightweight technologies in the cloud – including rapid deployment and the low cost of switching.
3. The online user experience has a renaissance, as web browsers and hardware become more sophisticated and designers and developers take advantage of that.
4. The growth of Internet of Things continues, RFID tags in everything. The initial bugs will make funny things happen all around us.
5. iPhones and other smartphones become the purchasing tool of choice.
6. Consumers bypass carriers and create open wifi networks for all (which is already happening but not en mass).
Jared Smith, Webmaster, @jaredwsmith
1. Backlash against the App Store causes more and more developers to defect to Android and competing platforms.
2. Google Chrome’s market share increases at Firefox’s expense. Internet Explorer continues to lose ground as more rich, HTML5-aware Web apps spring up on the scene.
3. Opera begins to struggle, as WebKit becomes the rendering engine of choice on mobile devices.
4. Social analytics features explode onto the scene in 2010. Twitter opens Pro accounts, including analytics and an API to access them. Google strikes a deal to integrate Twitter analytics with its Google Analytics product.