Home ReadWriteWeb’s 2012 Staff Predictions (And What We Got Wrong in 2011)

ReadWriteWeb’s 2012 Staff Predictions (And What We Got Wrong in 2011)

Oh, the hubris of year-end predictions posts. How did ReadWriteWeb do last year? We nailed a few of our guesses informed forecasts: 2011 saw the arrival of a $200 tablet, a Verizon iPhone, and Spotify in the U.S. We rightly predicted that Kevin Rose would leave Digg, NewsCorp would sell Myspace, and that HTML5 would begin to hit the big time.

I was right that the number of people blogging would continue to fall, but I was wrong that a digital news company was going to acquire a major legacy news organization. We were wrong about a few other things, too: Mobile payments didn’t become mainstream, we didn’t write a post called “Flickr: In Memoriam,” and there was no severe privacy breach at a location-based service.

What’s in store for 2012? Here are a few of our predictions (and more of our misses from last year). Let us know your prognostications in the comments.

Abraham Hyatt, Managing Editor

  • The Associated Press released its automated style checking software this week; 2012 will see the rise of some kind of rudimentary fact-checking equivalent. Serious bloggers and journalists will flock to it but fact checking won’t help the fact that there posts will stile bee filed with typos.
  • The relative success of the New York Times’ paywall (and others) will drive more experiments in getting people to pay for online content. Thanks to the Times’ example, a lot newspapers and magazines will realize their print product doesn’t have to be an albatross around their neck. As a result of package print/digital deals, newspaper circulation rates will slow their fall? No, that can’t be right.
  • The legacy journalism world finally began to steal ideas – accelerators, venture capital funds – that the tech world has been doing for many years. That adoption will continue at a depressingly slow rate in 2012.
  • Curation tools like Instapaper will still be something that everyone likes, very few people do well, and only a infinitesimal few ever make money on. The long-awaited brawl between publishers and those tools will never happen. The audience for that kind of curation, while growing, will remain small in comparison to the number of people visiting those stories on the publishers’ sites.
  • We will still be stuck with insidious buzzwords like gamification, filter bubble, clicktivism, robust and, *shudder*, mocial.

What other 2011 predictions did we get wrong?

  • 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.
  • Fantastic new tools for analyzing and displaying big data will appear. 
  • Readers’ Choice for Time’s Person of the Year: Anonymous. 
  • Telephony will continue to become more about messaging. Email, collaboration tools, activity stream technologies and other apps will further integrate with telephony APIs.

John Paul Titlow, Writer

  • Apple will release an HDTV set, but it will be little more than a television running the Apple TV flavor of iOS. The user experience will be nice, but the device won’t kill cable or turn the industry on its head just yet.
  • Joining Zite, one of the other popular news reading apps for the iPad will be bought by a big tech or media company. These apps still won’t be profitable.
  • By the June 2012, Instagram’s user base will have doubled from what it is today. Its Android app, once it’s finally released, will be a big help.
  • By the summer, Google TV will not in fact be included on the majority of new TV sets.
  • The iPhone 5 will launch and include NFC technology for mobile payments, contactless data transfer and other innovative uses. Apple’s integration will begin to wow mainstream consumers, but the tech still won’t be widely adopted for a few more years.
  • Location-based social networks like Foursquare will continue grow in popularity, but will still be a far cry from reaching mainstream status by the end of 2012. The concept will be made more palatable among everyday consumers thanks to their continued exposure to check-ins on Facebook and better promotional deals and coupons at local businesses for Foursquare users.
  • We’ll see a substantial increase in HTML5-fueled mobile Web apps as companies and publishers learn that it frees them from app store restrictions and is cheaper since it offers cross-platform support without having to code for every mobile OS individually. Still, the iTunes App Store and Android Marketplace will also continue to grow.
  • At least three notable artists will pull their catalogs from Spotify, Rdio, MOG or all three over concerns about royalty payments.
  • Left in the dust in the mobile space and engaged in ongoing legal battles, Grooveshark will shut down or otherwise be rendered a shadow of its former self by the end of the year.
  • Your non-techie friends will finally start using Google+.

Dan Rowinski, Writer

  • Evernote will make a startlingly large acquisition that sets it up for mainstream success for years to come. Everyone will ask: how did Evernote get so much money?
  • Facebook’s IPO will cause an exodus of top talent from the company that creates a new class of venture capitalist and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley in much the same way as the “Google Millionaires” did a little less than a decade ago.
  • Google+ will become a truly international platform with more than150 million users. Most people will still decry it as useless.
  • A major corporation will get in trouble with privacy violations on a scale that most users cannot even fathom yet. Forget the Apple location tracking or whatever Facebook does or does not do. Carrier IQ could be the seed of this.
  • A U.S. President will be elected and the pundits will all say, “well, he/she had a really good social media campaign that carried them through the process.”
  • Barack Obama will be reelected.
  • The city of Boston will have a couple high profile tech success stories and people will begin to say “Boston is back.”
  • A major breakthrough in real artificial intelligence will be made at a university, large corporation or by the U.S. military.
  • The world will not end on Dec. 21, 2012. But, the spammers will make a fortune from the hysteria.
  • Either Hulu or Netflix will be acquired. One or the other, not both.

Jared Smith, Webmaster

  • Yahoo! finds a buyer. More Yahoo! properties are divested and sunset as a result.
  • Groupon sinks as quickly as it grew. Enthusiasm for daily deals comes back to earth.
  • Apple names the next iPhone something other than the iPhone 5.
  • Google+ becomes a legitimate contender for business collaboration, making Citrix sit up and take notice.
  • Flash survives 2012 on the desktop as a vehicle for video playback as Adobe builds and refines its tools for HTML5.

Joe Brockmeier, Writer

  • Microsoft will buy Netflix, and use Netflix as a driver for its Xbox and Windows 8 Tablets.
  • Twitter goes through at least one (more) major redesign, but keeps the character count at 140 as nature intended.
  • Yahoo will finally be sold to a surprise buyer.
  • Web series, like the short series Dr. Horrible and like “The Guild” will take off in a major way in 2012.
  • Reputation systems like Klout will flounder when people realize Klout “perks” are not worth playing the status anxiety game.
  • NFC payments, at least in North America, continue to be a niche offering. People are slow to adopt new payment options, and it will take years before NFC is widely accepted or used.
  • Mozilla launches its own, federated social network as an open and privacy friendly alternative to Facebook, Google+ and others.
  • Evernote introduces a file-sharing app or add-on that competes with Dropbox and Box.net.
  • Apple introduces its first actual television. The world recoils in horror at the price tag.
  • The “datapocalypse” caused by the shortage of hard drives following the Thailand floods impact cloud services. The price for online storage stays constant, or actually goes up.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.