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February 04 2014

What Facebook Will Look Like by 2024

Online empires come and go. At one time, Alta Vista was the top search engine and Netscape was the only web browser. Both are now gone. Will the same happen to Facebook?

It's unlikely the company could completely exit the stage. However, the Facebook of 2024 will look very different from today's version. Primarily, the company will continue to morph from a social network to a more traditional media company

Several macro trends will likely drive that transformation, including the ascendance of smaller private networks, emerging platforms and growth in developing countries Read more...

More about Facebook, Features, Business, Predictions, and Media

January 06 2014

The 8 Hottest Tech Jobs of 2014

If there's one job market that isn't slowing down, it's tech. As legacy companies continue to digitize and exciting new startups pop up everywhere, we're encountering an increased demand for qualified tech professionals.

According to a recent survey from recruiting company Robert Half Technology, 16% of chief information officers plan to expand their teams in the first half of 2014. That means right now employers are looking to fill positions for software engineers, mobile developers and IT managers — a few of the hottest tech jobs this year.

More about Features, Business, Tech, Predictions, and Jobs

December 31 2013

7 Huge Tech Trends to Expect in 2014

Major innovations and tech sea-changes were few and far between in 2013. Unfortunately, what usually follows major advancements are refinements. These days, innovation tends to happen on a nano-scale, which means most people cannot see or experience that evolution

LCD display technology, for instance, has been around for decades; the changes we’ve lately seen in screen size, width and resolution have, mostly, refined that original idea. Same with Flash-based and solid state storage. We make the technology smaller and more stable but rarely change the fundamentals

More about Features, Tech, Predictions, 4k, and Nanotechnology

December 11 2013

Apple: What to Expect in 2014

Apple and its eponymous logo lost some luster in 2013. Experts questioned the company’s ability to innovate. Others pointed to the plummeting stock price as an indicator the good times are done

Yet, the year ends on a high note. Apple's stock price is up, and the iPad Air, iPad mini and iPhone 5S are each selling at a steady clip

Apple is no longer the company of Steve Jobs, this we know. Apple innovation isn't dead but it has become more conservative, not to mention, the showmanship has pretty much evaporated. Apple’s hits are, with few exceptions, refreshes and significant updates to existing products. Only the Mac Pro stands out as an utterly new design, if not a fresh category in itself. Read more...

More about Apple, Features, Business, Tech, and Predictions

April 12 2012

Can Journalism be More Scientific?

While the SxSW conference is already a distant memory, some of us are still catching up on the recorded sessions. One worth listening to is a discussion by Gideon Lichfield, the media editor of The Economist, and Matt Thompson, the editorial production manager for NPR. The session covered What Journalism Can Learn from Science, and looked at some interesting issues for practicing journalists.

Tags: Predictions

January 17 2012

4 Community Management Predictions for 2012

Community management, an industry still in its infancy, came a long way in 2011. Many businesses no longer ask “What does a community manager do, and do I need one?” but rather “What makes a great community manager, and when can I hire one?”

The role is far from being standardized from organization to organization, and may never be. Yet today’s digital trends will affect community managers in a variety of businesses. Some have already begun chipping away at them.

While some aspects of the job may never change — constant multitasking, quick judgement calls, critical thinking — CMs have much on the horizon in 2012. Here are four predictions of what’s on tap for community management.

1. Perfecting Post Timing

When SMO came on the scene, the technique didn’t stray far from its big cousin, SEO. Social media editors and marketers have focused on using the best tags and keywords to make updates more findable and clickable.

In 2012, timing will play a big role. As we learn more about social networks’ traffic peaks, tools like Social Flow and Page Lever are creating systems to help us determine when to post social updates. Social Flow’s algorithm senses when the maximum amount of your Twitter followers are online, paired with knowledge of topics they tweet about, to push a tweet at the most optimal time. For Page Lever, it’s all about understanding how Facebook‘s EdgeRank algorithm works by sending a status update as soon as your last has left your fans’ News Feeds.

Overwhelming audiences’ social streams to the point of annoyance has always been a concern. Honing in on how to most effectively distribute more content is what will take social media strategy to the next level this year.

2. Community-Driven Content and Products

The way user-generated content typically works: 1) a site launches an initiative; 2) puts out a call to its audience for submissions; and 3) uses those submissions in the way that works best for the site. As content creation becomes increasingly simple for the average user, people are creating feature-able content on their own — without site-inspired calls-to-action. We’ll soon see more brands and organizations taking this already existing quality content and incorporating it into their products.

Instagram has already helped pave the way for this by including four new user-created photo filters in its September 2.0 release. At Mashable, we’re featuring YouTube videos created by community members in our weekly Cover Song Face-Off series. Artists are thrilled to be recognized for creations born of their own passions.

In 2012, community managers will see beyond the content they ask their audiences to create. They’ll start curating the best of the web that’s already there — and community members will love them for it.

3. Optimizing for Mobile

The year 2012 is bound to see a new type of optimization: mobile SMO. According to comScore, nearly one-third of U.S. mobile users access social media on their devices — and that number has nowhere to go but up.

Now it’s up to social media editors and marketers to understand mobile user behavior and use that knowledge to best connect with their audiences on smartphones and tablets.

Keep in mind is the variety that comes with mobile devices. Not only do screens come in many sizes, but access can come from several sources, whether it’s a mobile site, app or content aggregator. These options will only increase as we move forward in the mobile market. It presents an exciting opportunity for community managers to connect with their audiences in a new and ever-important way.

4. Mass Appeal on Niche Networks

While Twitter and Facebook are no-brainers for digital strategists, many have yet to tap into the beauty of niche social networks. These sites, including Pinterest and Stamped, popped up left and right in 2011 — and they don’t seem to be slowing down. For community managers, this means it’s time to get on the bandwagon.

Niche social networks may be a less obvious win than larger, more established networks because the overall userbases are smaller. However, niche sites provide highly-targeted environments. While your reach may not be as expansive, you have the opportunity to connect with specific demographics. Twitter and Facebook are often so congested it’s tough to pinpoint communities that share a common interest with your brand.

As social users seek places to share content around pinpointed interest areas, spaces to do so will continue to arise. In 2012, community managers will not only leverage niche networks to connect with their audiences, but will also use them to engage more effectively than on larger networks.

We can’t predict the future, but 2011 gives us reason to believe these four trends will take the cake this year. Still, community management is a budding industry and these are only some of the changes 2012 will bring. What else do you think is on the horizon for community managers? How might their roles change and where is the industry headed? Whether you manage a community or are a member of one, share your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Flickr, Marc Wathieu, jima

More About: 2012, community, community management, features, predictions, SMO, Social Media

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January 13 2012

5 Digital Publishing App Trends to Watch in 2012

Erik Loehfelm is the executive director of user experience at Universal Mind, where he leads the design team in developing new, immersive app experiences for a variety of devices. He is also a leading voice in the digital publishing industry. Follow Erik @eloehfelm and read his blog.

Digital publishing grew tremendously in 2011. With the unveiling of new technologies such as the iPad 2, the iPhone 4S and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, we’ve dramatically changed the way companies will disseminate information for years to come.

But we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible in this space. While many industries have dipped a tentative toe in the water, most have yet to take full advantage of all the capabilities of mobile technology, and make the move from paper to digital, from passive to interactive.

We predict that 2012 will see a wave of new digital publishing apps across a wide range of industries. Here are five new types of “digi-pubs” to watch for in 2012.

1. Movie Tie-Ins

There are already apps and games that build on the characters and storyline of films; however, a huge amount of film content has yet to be tapped by a mobile framework. But this is just around the corner.

For example, books based on children’s films essentially contain stills of the movie. With a relatively small effort, studios may start to turn children’s films into interactive picture books enhanced with games and clips from the films.

And considering the amount of work that goes into creating the bonus materials for a DVD, can the “making of” digi-pub for every major film be far behind? Unlike a book or a DVD, this content can also be made interactive and social. For example, an app could enable you to see all the actors’ tweets or to follow them on Facebook.

2. Music Appumentaries

Several musicians and labels have really started to embrace mobile technology to tell a deeper story and share directly with fans, and we’ve seen the early emergence of what some are calling the “appumentary.”

For example, the Jimi Hendrix – The Complete Experience app showcases pivotal moments in Jimi’s life and career, streams his music and offers an interactive approach to storytelling. The This Day in Pink Floyd app contains thousands of music facts, a guide to every one of the 167 studio tracks the band officially released, as well as Pink Floyd images, quiz questions, video footage and more. The Sting 25 app offers access to Sting’s seminal performances, rare photos and personal stories over the past 25 years of his music career.

I anticipate that as more artists and labels embrace this new medium, we’ll see an increase in digital music downloads and an explosion in new types of artist content, maybe even a new fan club paradigm with advanced and/or exclusive access to media or artist-driven content.

3. Medical Exam Apps

How many times have you been to the doctor and had them bring a laptop into the exam room? Probably not very many. While some medical practices have begun introducing some of these basic tools into their patient interactions, there’s still a shocking lack of mobile technology usage in the medical industry.

In 2012, the medical industry will have the opportunity to create a new paradigm for doctor/patient interaction using tablet technology. With the presentation of digital publications and apps that can distill complex medical theories and procedures into consumable bites, our understanding of conditions and treatment options will expand.

Imagine your doctor sitting with you to go over some test results. With a digital records application, she could display your results on an interactive comparative chart that displays the averages of people in your area by age, race, gender, occupation or lifestyle. It could contain embedded videos of procedure descriptions. Your doctor could share access with you, enabling you to request other opinions from physicians across the world. You could tie in social experiences on community boards with people that have undergone similar procedures. All of this could be presented in an interactive and personal publication that embodies your entire medical history.

4. The Digital Textbook

In some ways, the foundational paradigms of education are in transition. There are opportunities in the education market that are huge and potentially transformative.

Should students be carrying four or five textbooks to school each day? Could students purchase only certain chapters of books? Could books include text that is updated by authors in real-time? Could the concept of a “textbook” be a compilation of Wikipedia entries, content queried from Wolfram|Alpha, a professor’s thoughts and musings and social network contributions?

Not only is the content of today’s textbooks ready to be challenged; the way this content is consumed is already in a state of transition. The introduction of e-text and Amazon’s early versions of the Kindle changed how we read. No longer do we need to consume “printed” text in one form. Kindle devices and Kindle applications allow today’s readers to enjoy published works in their choice of context – Kindle device, desktop, mobile app – and seamlessly switch between them. With Amazon’s latest Kindle Fire tablet, consumers are now empowered with the Kindle experience on top of a mature Android platform. This platform of power and functionality will allow for new types of content presentation: interactive charts and graphs, embedded media, embedded discussions, sharing and borrowing, live discussions, etc.

5. Interactive Retail Catalogs

Using mobile technology in retail is practically a no-brainer, since investing in tech to reach consumers can pay off quickly. Brands like IKEA and Lands’ End have already begun to embrace the functionality of interacting with consumers on their mobile devices. In fact, many big-box and online retailers have begun to offer catalog apps that allow you to browse content on your iPad. However, most have simply taken their existing materials and published them in a similar form to their print counterparts.

In 2012, there is a huge opportunity for retailers to bring their catalog experiences to life on the iPad. For example, shoppers should be able to build avatars and virtually try on clothes, making mobile shopping an interactive, enjoyable and functional experience. Homeowners should be able to take pictures of their living rooms and upload them to the catalog app, then “decorate” rooms with the items from the catalog. And forget paint swatches – soon you will be able to take a picture of a room, choose and try different paint colors on the walls, click to buy, and have it ready to pick up at a nearby store in 15 minutes.

What are some digital publishing applications you’d like to see this year?

More About: apps, contributor, digital publishing, ecommerce, Entertainment, features, medical, Mobile, predictions, Tablet

January 11 2012

What to Expect From Mobile Marketing Tech in 2012

Matthias Galica is CEO of ShareSquare, the leading platform among brand and entertainment marketers for incentivizing offline-to-online consumer engagement.

As new technologies emerge that seek to bridge the real world with the digital, the offline-to-online marketing learning curve only gets steeper.

For instance, what is the future of the QR code, and should we prepare to be wowed by augmented reality? Read on for my mobile marketing predictions of 2012.

1. Quick Response (QR) Codes

The Good: We’ll witness the disappearance of non-standard formats, an exponential rise in capable mobile devices, and a steady march toward improved calls-to-action spurred by more accountable analytics.

The Bad: Even though the arrival of native QR scanning in Android and/or iOS would be a boon for mainstream adoption, the move would elbow out increasingly popular third-party scanning apps and draw the ire of developers.

The Ugly: Overwhelmed by the variety of QR uses in marketing campaigns, bad “carpenters” keep blaming their tools, and repeat simple mistakes that disappoint many first-time consumer scanners. 

Whether you love or hate QR codes, they’ll become progressively more ubiquitous and useful as they mature from hype to marketing line item.

2. Augmented Reality (AR)

The Good: Thanks to the exponential rise of capable mobile devices, a few AR campaigns will successfully break through to capture mainstream imaginations. And despite the highly proprietary nature of most AR, efforts like Aurasma‘s will continue striving to build scalable platforms.

The Bad: Similar to QR’s initial reception, the wider availability of easy AR creation tools will result in many more uninspired efforts, disappointing first-time users. The situation is further exacerbated by the broad definition of what “augmented reality” is and by uncertain consumer expectations.

The Ugly: The challenge of consistently retaining consumer attention beyond initial novelty (especially if a leading provider doesn’t emerge) threatens to relegate AR marketing to a modern flop.

In the absence of a dominant AR mobile marketing app, a plurality of contenders will fight to attain precious network effects, all the while searching for the “sticky” use cases and supporting performance metrics that result in repeat usage.

3. Near Field Communication (NFC)

The Good: Even though mobile wallets have held the spotlight, competition among providers hastens hardware penetration for mobile marketing opportunities, like the ability to swap SIM cards for NFC in lieu of upgrading one’s entire device. Early campaigns will appear in tandem with QR codes.

The Bad: Total NFC mobile penetration will remain below critical mass for mainstream deployments, constraining good campaigns to tightly focused areas, while exposing poorly conceived campaigns with less reach to critical scorn.

The Ugly: As competition escalates among mobile wallet hopefuls like Google Wallet, ISIS, and their respectively exclusive carriers, cross-compatibility of NFC standards across mobile devices will be threatened.

The competitive landscape of mobile payments in 2012 will play a large role in either accelerating or forestalling NFC’s mobile marketing future.

4. The Field (Everybody Else)

The Good: Offline-online tech will quietly thrive, especially that which offers simplicity with mass compatibility, like Zoove’s StarStar numbers. Also, startups like ShopKick, which diligently cultivates lucrative redemption and loyalty behavior into passionate user bases, will enjoy increased participation.

The Bad: Recognition apps will continue to fetishize the technology and ignore whether the end result is any good, with the exception of Google Goggles, which will seamlessly integrate into Android’s camera (effectively making visual search opt-out).

The Ugly: Some offline-online startups will be forced to transition from enthusiastic early adopters to monetizing mainstream demand. The true nature of “checking-in” will be called into question.

QR, AR and NFC are getting all kinds of buzz, but a healthy contingent of other contenders is also vying to close the loop. Given the wide spectrum of opportunities in offline-to-online engagement, it’s not inconceivable that multiple technologies can succeed across mutually exclusive consumer behaviors.

Image courtesy of Flickr, hedrinbc

More About: Augmented Reality, contributor, features, Marketing, near field communication, predictions, QR Codes

January 06 2012

5 Predictions for Online Data in 2012

Josh Jones-Dilworth is the founder and CEO of Jones-Dilworth, Inc., a public relations consultancy focused on bringing early-stage technologies to market.

In the spirit of the new year, I’ve determined my online data predictions for 2012. And because I’m attempting to make this an annual experiment, let’s begin my looking back at how my 2011 predictions shook out.

1. Personal data management matures into an industry. I’ll admit the prediction was largely a fail. Ambitious startups like Singly + The Locker Project got off the ground, but did not pick up steam. Many new, related startups are in the works, but none have even come close to the goal of managing one’s data the way he manages his health or wealth, for instance. An end-to-end platform may emerge, but it will take time.

2. The flood gates of corporate data open widely. This prediction has come close to being true. It certainly has become important to mine, parse and manifest corporate data for internal and external uses alike. The predominant question has indeed shifted from “Should I make my data open and available?” to “How can I do it best?” But at the same time, a lot of people are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see how things develop.

3. Big data gets regulated. Facebook agreed to submit to independent privacy audits as part of its long-gestating FTC settlement. I’d argue that we’ll see more regulation in 2012. Congress has taken an active role, and the big Internet companies have only further increased their lobbying spend. Controversies surrounding Carrier IQ, Apple and SOPA have accelerated public interest.

Of course there’s good regulation and bad regulation. Anyone doing business in or with data is going to have to understand how government works, and play an active role.

4. The trend itself gets old and tired. Another outright fail. It is certainly true that everything is becoming, or has already become, data-driven, but we haven’t yet had the hangover I predicted. If anything, we’re full-steam ahead, and as ebullient and ambitious as ever.

This is good and bad — escalating investment of both human and real capital will spur innovation and speed up the inevitable. But the pace also makes us more vulnerable. Data for data’s sake, or data for self-justification is an ongoing risk.

5. Data scientists become the new community managers. I think it’s fair to say that this happened, by a large margin. Check out this chart from Indeed that chronicles the explosion of data scientist jobs. CMSWire explores the particulars in more detail.

Last year aside, what’s going to matter in 2012?

1. Future Tense Analytics — Hello, McFly?

For a long time, were analytics defined by the past — what happened a day ago? A week ago? A year ago?

The arrival of real-time technologies sped things up quite a bit. It’s now commonplace to ask, what’s happening? What’s trending? What’s changing? Today’s best data-driven technologies and strategies orchestrate insights in the present tense.

Naturally, predictive analytics tackle the future tense. This isn’t a new notion, but the underlying technologies are finally mature enough for predictive use. Keep an eye on places like Decide.com. In 2012, future-tense capabilities will become widespread, and in high demand.

2. Mixing and Matching Data Sets

One of the things that comes right after wider availability of data is the desire to put that data in context. For instance, this type of mashup culture is what put Mashable itself on the map back in 2006 and 2007. For other brands and enterprises, 2012 will be all about crashing diverse data sets together, and seeing what clicks.

I’m actually a dissenter when it comes to companies like Factual or SimpleGeo’s heavy emphasis on location as a single data vertical. Umbel‘s focus on audience definition and BlueKai‘s ad targeting are other examples of early leaders in a particular domain.

It’s not at all that these companies aren’t cool or useful, but the most interesting things happen when you mash up data sources. For example, Umbel can provide incredible insight into your audience and its habits, but it’s even more interesting when merged with usage logs, comment streams and share counts.

The year 2012 will be about putting corporate data alongside open public sources — internal data meets external data.

This is why I continue to be a big fan of data marketplaces like Infochimps, a company I advise, which has bundled data sets and API surrounding key themes, instead of verticals. The most actionable insights come from a diversity of data.

3. The Data Scientist Talent Grab

A few years ago, I remember reading job descriptions for Ruby on Rails programmers who should have “5+ years of experience.” This was funny, as Rails was only three years old at the time.

That is what happens when a certain skill set spikes in demand. Employers assume market maturity when there is none, hiring gets very competitive, salaries rise, the very best practitioners give their employers an unfair advantage, and the market is flooded with wannabes (some of whom prove their mettle, some who do not).

Training and professional development initiatives have taken center stage, and the land grab is on. McKinsey predicts that by 2018, the U.S. alone will face a 140,000 to 190,000-person shortage of professionals who have deep analytical skills, as well as a shortfall of 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to analyze big data to make effective decisions.

We’re even seeing venture firms like Greylock hire top 5% data scientists to work across the entire portfolio, as one solution to the problem. And companies are employing new means of data science outsourcing (see: Kaggle, Mu Sigma).

Since it’s all still a relatively nascent field, I urge you to reinvest in the talent you already house. Knowledge of your own business is just as important as knowledge of data science. There are requisite skills of course, and it takes a certain kind of person, but in my own experience, there are bound to be many qualified individuals who are hungry and game.

Soon there will be a much wider gap between the novices and the experts. However, don’t think of data science chops as just something you can hire for, and be done with. It’s a transformative trend, something that will eventually cut horizontally across your entire organization.

In 2012, data science will appear in job descriptions left and right, and will become the most in-demand skill set in the technology sector.

4. Data-Driven Everywhere

We generally think of data as the domain of large B2B companies that sell enterprise software, or of advertising networks and targeting systems that have an easy way of assigning a dollar value to their work. But the legal, pharma and law enforcement sectors have also been natural fits.

In 2012, we’ll see data-driven innovation and data-centric design emerge from the unlikeliest of places — think data-driven fashion, crop insurance, Hollywood box office and even humanities education.

Essentially, don’t rule out the possibility of data-driven strategies anywhere. Even if a business doesn’t run on data, it absolutely produces very interesting exhaust that can be used advantageously.

5. Data-Driven Non-profits

Data has a higher purpose too — it’s not just a pageview multiplier, or a CPM lift.  Data can help us understand how we are doing as a society and as a culture.

Here I’m not talking about non-profits that use data to grow. I’m talking about non-profit initiatives that are built around data in and of themselves. Two great examples are CommonCrawl and the Earth Dashboard Project. Common Crawl builds and maintains a free and open crawl of the web and all its data, with the purpose of forwarding important research that requires large-scale analysis. The Earth Dashboard Project is an effort to build a living report card of sorts for the entire globe. It will be installed at the UN Headquarters in New York City as a way of reminding delegates and visitors of the bigger picture, our interconnectedness, and what we’re really working toward every day.

There is a lot to be done with data, not nearly all of it profitable. In 2012, we’ll see five to seven new data-driven non-profits start to bite off important chunks of value that sit outside of corporate and governmental concerns.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, nadla

More About: contributor, data, data collection, features, future, predictions

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Mashable’s Digital Predictions for 2012

It’s hard to believe all that came out of the tech world in the year 2011. From drastic changes in social media trends to unexpected company acquisitions — both startups and major corporations — it goes without saying that it has been a banner year for technology as a whole.

We asked the staff at Mashable to peer into their own crystal balls and tell us what their digital predictions were for 2012. Some are obvious transitions, but others might be a little surprising.

Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know yours in the comments.

Product and Software

CD and DVD based software and game sales will continue to decline. Apple has already started its push to eliminate the optical disc — with its Mac App Store and the online-only availability of OS X Lion. Microsoft is also going to push digital app distribution via the Windows App Store component of Windows 8. Likewise, game companies will continue to push more games via download offerings, including Steam, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, eschewing traditional discs. – Christina Warren

Apple will release a triumvirate of products including a super slim edge-to-edge screen iPad 3, the long awaited iPhone 5 and an Apple TV. The last may also be called the iMac 50-inch. Amazon will introduce a completely redesigned Kindle Fire. The software will be somewhat different, but the hardware will be a rethinking of the 7-inch tablet. Microsoft Windows 8 will arrive by the end of the year, but with a number of different versions. Metro will be for tablets only and Windows 8 Home and Business will be for laptops and desktops. – Lance Ulanoff

Voice Recognition

Siri Image

I think voice recognition is going to be a big trend in 2012. The iPhone 4S’ Siri has brought the technology to a mainstream audience, and other manufacturers will be keen to capitalize on the buzz. It won’t just be phones that will offer the tech, we’ll see a variety of consumer electronics incorporating voice control elements — probably with mixed success! - Amy-Mae Elliott


Smart phones will start to see quad core processors along with higher resolution displays, and more smart phones will start to see NFC chips. Mobile payments will start to become recognizable, and more people will understand what it is.- Keith Kaplan

The Oscars will be streamed — in their entirety — online and on mobile. – Lance Ulanoff

Frictionless Sharing

“I saw the future early in 2011 when my colleague Sarah Kessler wrote about three startups betting on the idea that people would want to auto-share their browsing histories to social networks. Most people my age and older find this idea a bit startling — we like to control what and with whom we share online.

But in reading about these companies way back in February, it occurred to me that this might be the root of a new generational divide. I see my teenage cousins on Facebook liking thousands of pages indiscriminately and sharing daily minutiae by the truckload. Some are living what seems like 100% of their lives out loud and online. The idea of automatically streaming your reading, listening and location habits will definitely appeal to them, and never appeal to me. Just as my parents will never “get” Twitter and Reddit, I will never “get” clickstreaming.

Lo and behold, late 2011 brought these concepts directly to the mainstream: Facebook. The Washington Post’s Social Reader automatically shares the stories you read. “Frictionless sharing” like this will surely propagate widely in 2012 and beyond.” – Matt Silverman


Hulu Image

The coming year will also see much more focus on redefining the TV experience as Apple releases a TV set, which will seamlessly integrate the Internet. Despite the absence of Steve Jobs, the release will garner substantial hype and will be an immediate hit, prompting an upgrade cycle. - Todd Wasserman

Smart TVs and TV apps, for example Hulu or Netflix, will start to become more popular. – Keith Kaplan

This will be the first year most people become aware of what OLED HDTVs are, and will want one, especially after they’ve seen OLED’s sharp picture, super-flat screen and beautiful color saturation. However, it will be several years before OLED HDTVs in large sizes (over 55″) become affordable. – Charlie White


Motion gaming is sort of the ire of all hardcore gamers but in 2012 game companies will continue to push the limits of their gesture-based peripherals. Sales of the Kinect and PS3 Move may not be as stratospherically high as the Nintendo Wii once was but we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what these things can do. The companies are throwing their hats into motion gaming and 2012 will be the year it sinks or swims (until, of course, the WiiU comes out).

That, and there will be a new emphasis on motion-capping and life-like animation. The current crop of consoles can already get pretty close to photo-realism but animating those graphics has proved the toughest challenge. Games like L.A. Noire have shown what motion-capture can do in a video game setting. Be ready for more.

Of course, mobile/social gaming and gamification will continue their steady plot to conquer the gaming world but expect big moves in motion gaming and motion-capture. – Zachary Sniderman

Social Media

social media image

Social media powerhouses like Facebook and Twitter will grow less in user acquisition and more in user engagement by implementing new features to keep users on the site longer. Pinboard site Pinterest will be a huge player in the space as it continues to organically grow its large, yet niche audience. As Google+ continues to add more features, better integrate with other Google products and become more business-friendly, it will be a contender for best social network. Mobile design will become a focus for social sites (if it hasn’t already) as average users become more inclined to not only consume content but also engage on tablets and smartphones. – Meghan Peters

Facebook and Twitter will continue their rapid growth, especially outside of the U.S. Inside the U.S., Google+ will break 100 million users and look significantly different than it does right now. – Lance Ulanoff

Business Acquisitions

In 2012, Amazon will secure its place as the digital hub in a good portion of U.S. households by buying Netflix. This will not only add a lot more content to Amazon’s streaming choices and make buying Prime a no-brainer, but will also become a valuable branding tool as Amazon drops the Netflix name and that company’s red envelopes are replaced by Amazon’s yellow and white. - Todd Wasserman

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will step down, and someone will acquire Netflix. RIM will also announce a significant leadership change. It may also get acquired before the end of 2013. – Lance Ulanoff

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, GreenPimp, gmutlu, LPETTET, robas

More About: features, new year predictions, predictions, Social Media, Tech, Year End 2011

December 20 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. What other 2011 predictions did we get wrong?
  5. 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.
  6. Fantastic new tools for analyzing and displaying big data will appear.
  7. Readers' Choice for Time's Person of the Year: Anonymous
  8. Telephony will continue to become more about messaging. Email, collaboration tools, activity stream technologies and other apps will further integrate with telephony APIs.
  9. 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.
  10. We will still be stuck with insidious buzzwords like gamification, filter bubble, clicktivism, robust and, *shudder*, mocial.

John Paul Titlow, Writer

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. By the summer, Google TV will not in fact be included on the majority of new TV sets.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. We'll see a substantial increase in HTML5-fueled mobile Web apps as companies and publishers learn that they 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.
  8. At least three notable artists will pull their catalogs from Spotify, Rdio, MOG or all three over concerns about royalty payments.
  9. 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.
  10. Your non-techie friends will finally start using Google+.

Dan Rowinski, Writer

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. Google+ will become a truly international platform with more than150 million users. Most people will still decry it as useless.
  4. 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.
  5. 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."
  6. Barack Obama will be reelected.
  7. The city of Boston will have a couple high profile tech success stories and people will begin to say "Boston is back."
  8. A major breakthrough in real artificial intelligence will be made at a university, large corporation or by the U.S. military.
  9. The world will not end on Dec. 21, 2012. But, the spammers will make a fortune from the hysteria.
  10. Either Hulu or Netflix will be acquired. One or the other, not both.

Jared Smith, Webmaster

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

Joe Brockmeier, Writer

  1. Microsoft will buy Netflix, and use Netflix as a driver for its Xbox and Windows 8 Tablets.
  2. Twitter goes through at least one (more) major redesign, but keeps the character count at 140 as nature intended.
  3. Yahoo will finally be sold to a surprise buyer.
  4. Web series, like the short series Dr. Horrible and like "The Guild" will take off in a major way in 2012.
  5. Reputation systems like Klout will flounder when people realize Klout "perks" are not worth playing the status anxiety game.
  6. 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.
  7. Mozilla launches its own, federated social network as an open and privacy friendly alternative to Facebook, Google+ and others.
  8. Evernote introduces a file-sharing app or add-on that competes with Dropbox and Box.net.
  9. Apple introduces its first actual television. The world recoils in horror at the price tag.
  10. 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.

Tags: Predictions

February 28 2011

Oscars 2011 Predictions: Another Perspective [INFOGRAPHIC]

Who will take home the hardware tonight at the Oscars 2011 awards ceremony? Here’s another perspective, leveraging the power of social media to find out which actors and films were talked about most, this time in an infographic created by the Meltwater Group.

This infographic confirms most of what we saw yesterday in that Webtrends pre-Oscar buzz graphic, with a notable exception.

The methodologies for the two graphics were similar, where for this graphic, the Meltwater Group started tracking three award categories (Best Picture, Actor and Actress) back on January 25, gathering data from blogs, comments, video, Facebook, and microblogs such as Twitter to arrive at this data. Meltwater went further, cross-checking back to January 20, “to make sure the conversation was generally about the nominee in relation to the Oscars.”

Meltwater admits that “The most talked-about nominees are not necessarily going to be the ones who are named the winners by the Academy,” saying that it is presenting its data as more of a fun way to see which films and actors are being talked about the most.

Webtrends’ data collection differed from Meltwater’s, even though both admit that this more of a popularity contest than a predictor of winners. Webtrends counted both English- and Spanish-language mentions of films or actors, and didn’t count video in its data gathered. However, it had Inception taking the win for Best Picture with The King’s Speech trailing far behind in seventh place.

The other two categories were remarkably similar, where Webtrends matched the Meltwater estimate of James Franco winning the Oscar for Best Actor, as well as Natalie Portman taking on the trophy for Best Actress.

Why do you think there was such a discrepancy between the Best Picture nominees, even though the methodologies of the two studies were similar?

Graphic courtesy Meltwater Group

More About: facebook, infographic, Meltwater, Oscar Nominees, oscars-2011, predictions, social media

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December 31 2010

2011 Staff Predictions

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.


Tags: Predictions

2011 Predictions: Audrey Watters

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'll be posting our predictions. Let us know your prognostications in the comments.

1: There will be major opportunities and innovations around big data - storage, processing, analytics. "Data-driven" will be the new buzzword. "Data scientist" will be the new hot job. So in the spirit of the film The Graduate, I want to say one word to you. Just one word. "Statistics."


2: Governments and corporations will continue their crackdown on "inappropriate" and "illegal" content online, using WikiLeaks and file sharing as the excuse. People will debate what's protected under the First Amendment versus Terms of Service agreements.

3: Peer-to-peer services will expand, in part as a response to #2. P2P technologies and networks will improve, and new services will spring up that privilege trusted relationships.

4: "Not dead yet," squeaks the Web. Thank you, HTML5.

5: Investor dollars will flow into the education technology sector, and there will be lots of acquisition activity in ed-tech as many large media, publishing, and tech companies stake their claim in the space. But there will also be several ed-tech scandals (test-score related) and failures (yes, Kno).

6: Openly-licensed content - open education resources, open source, open data - will thrive, as more people question outmoded intellectual property laws. Nonetheless, there'll still be patent and copyright infringement lawsuits aplenty.

7: Mobile payments will explode, and our phones will increasingly become our wallets. The growth will not lie solely with apps and in-app purchases on smartphones, but will come from carrier billing arrangements on all types of mobile phones.

8: Tablets will be the hot device of 2011 - a lot of new buyers, a lot of new manufacturers. Most of the latter will suck, and the iPad will continue to dominate sales (and app sales) until late in the year when a decent Android tablet is released. Despite over a year to prepare, it will fail to have a better name than "iPad."

9: Maker Fairs will flourish. Hobbyists will build mind-blowingly cool projects. And inspired by the likes of Kinect, Scratch, and LegoMindstorms, legions of kids will be inspired to become builders and hackers.

10: My mom will join Facebook.


Tags: Predictions

6 Predictions for Social Networks in 2011

The past year was an eventful one for the world of social networking. Facebook went on an acquisition spree. Twitter started growing up. And MySpace? Well it’s the same old story over there.

In 2010, we predicted that Facebook would conquer the web. We just didn’t know the social network would do it so convincingly. We’re not oracles, though, and we did miss on some of our acquisition picks. Well, time for round two.

Now that Facebook is clearly king, what is going to happen to the rest of the world’s social networks? What will happen to Bebo? What’s next for MySpace? And will Facebook finally hold that IPO?

Here are my predictions for what will happen in the world of social networking in 2011:

1. Google’s Social Networking Efforts Flop Spectacularly

Google dominates search. It has nailed mobile. Oh, and it owns YouTube, the web’s biggest video property. So why the heck does it fail so miserably at social?

Until this year, Google’s had middling success in social — YouTube, Gmail, Gtalk, Blogger and Orkut have all had varying levels of success. This year though, Google Wave was shut down, Google Buzz flopped and Google’s big social initiative has been delayed due to in-fighting and a lack of clarity and purpose.

Here’s my first prediction of the year: Google’s social media efforts will be spectacular failures. TechCrunch nabbed a screenshot of the “Google +1″ social toolbar, one big component of Google’s social plan, we’ve been told. We remain unimpressed, though. As Buzz demonstrated, sticking something social on a page doesn’t mean people will instantly use it.

More importantly, Google as a company is built for speed and efficiency, neither of which are critical to the success of a social network. That’s why we predict another horrendous year for the search giant in the social realm.

2. A Middling MySpace Is Sold Off

Despite a total redesign and overhaul, MySpace continues to plummet like a boulder pushed off a cliff. While we’re fans of the social network’s attempt to reinvent itself as a “social entertainment destination,” the frank truth is that MySpace is bleeding money and there’s no end in sight to the bloodshed.

Eventually MySpace will bottom out; we just don’t know when. It won’t come soon enough for News Corp. though, and it will start looking for someone to take its high-profile Internet property off of its hands. MySpace is still a valuable asset in the right hands, so somebody will pick it up.

3. Bebo Gets a New Owner… Again

Bebo’s fall from grace is one of the sad stories of social networking. When we first covered Bebo in 2006, it was on its way to becoming a powerhouse. In 2008, AOL acquired Bebo for $850 million, an astounding (and overvalued) price point.

Six months ago, AOL sold Bebo for about $10 million to Criterion Capital Partners. Then they made a few big moves: they hired Kevin Bachus, co-creator of the Xbox, and brought Bebo co-founder Michael Birch back as an advisor and investor.

Bebo’s still shrinking though. Unless Birch and Bachus can orchestrate a comeback of Rocky proportions, Criterion Capital Partners will start looking to make money on its investment or at least minimize its loss. Even if it makes a comeback, Criterion’s reportedly interested in selling Bebo this year.

We expect Bebo to be in new hands by this time next year. The most likely acquirers, we believe, would be a group led by Birch himself.

4. No Facebook IPO in 2011

There have been countless rumors about a Facebook IPO since 2007. The media has been waiting with baited breath for the day that Mark Zuckerberg cashes in on his baby and turns his company public.

I’m here to tell the media: Don’t hold your breath.

I could create a list of reasons the size of an SUV why Facebook and its billionaire leader aren’t going to be raising money on the public markets. Here are just a few of them:

  • Mark Zuckerberg is famously uninterested in money. He believes in delayed gratification and has lived in a modest home for years — he’s the opposite of the far more extravagant Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle. In other words, he’s in no rush for a big payday.
  • Secondary markets like Sharespost have changed the game for cashing out on investments. In the past, VCs needed to cash out on their investments by acquisition or IPO, but as Accel Partners proved last month, VCs no longer need an IPO to do so.
  • Zuckerberg sees no strategic advantage to an IPO. In fact, it’s just a lot more paperwork, headaches and scrutiny. He’d love to delay that as long as possible.
  • Facebook doesn’t believe it’s ready for an IPO: “Facebook would benefit from another year of growth absent the added scrutiny that comes with a public listing,” Business Week reported earlier this year.

The result is that there won’t be a Facebook IPO in 2011. So long as the company’s growth metrics are strong, Facebook has no need for the public markets. When it hits its saturation point though, that’s when you should expect the social network to make its move. I predict that will happen in 2012.

5. Twitter Has a Very Boring 2011

While I don’t consider Twitter a social network, many people do, so it’s only appropriate that I provide a prediction for what will happen to Twitter in 2011.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with anything interesting: Twitter’s going to have a steady and boring 2011.

Sure, Twitter will launch new features, and senior execs will continue to step down and new people will take their place, but that’s what happens to any maturing business. Now that Twitter has new funding, has launched its ad platform and has launched a complete redesign, is there an earth-shattering event that could take us by surprise?

I don’t discount it; I just don’t predict there will be one. An IPO makes no sense with the new round of funding. A redesign isn’t necessary. Really, Twitter is focused on its ad platform and will launch features that enhance it. Twitter will slowly continue to grow, but I don’t expect Facebook-like hockey stick growth.

In 2011, Twitter is going to be one of the most boring social media services around. And I know the Twitter team is just fine with that.

6. The Social Networking Trend of 2011: Mobile Photos

“We’re in a unique time right now because of the power of the cell phone with the two cameras, both the front and the back, and the broadband networks that allow photos to be shared simply and consumed through social networks in realtime.” ~Brian Pokorny, Dailybooth CEO

Pokorny was discussing during his Ignite talk at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. He argued that publishing has evolved from the desktop (blogging) to the phone (tweeting) to the smartphone (photo-taking).

While social photography is nothing new (Flickr and Facebook dominate), mobile photography is just beginning to blossom, thanks to apps like Instagram, PicPlz, Path, and Dailybooth. Other services like Tumblr, Gowalla, Posterous and most recently Foursquare are only pushing the trend further.

2011 will be the year mobile photo sharing becomes all the rage. These services will hit critical mass as smartphone users install apps in order to keep up with their friends. I also predict that Facebook will join the fray and implement new mobile photo-sharing features integrated with its Places platform, bringing the whole trend to another level.

What Are Your Predictions?

Enough with my predictions. What do you predict will happen in the social networking space in 2011? Who will get acquired? Who will be acquiring? What will the big trends in social networking be next year?

Let us know your answers in the comments below.

More Social Media Resources from Mashable:

- HOW TO: Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Using Social Media
- 4 Predictions for the Future of Politics and Social Media
- Why Chocolate Companies Are So Sweet on Social Media
- 10 More Creative Uses of the New Facebook Profile [PICS]
- Reddit Political Action Committee: We’re Not Happy With the New Net Neutrality Rules

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, temniy

More About: bebo, facebook, Google, Google +1, Google Me, List, Lists, myspace, predictions, predictions-2011, social media, social networking, social networks, twitter

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December 30 2010

2011 Predictions: Klint Finley

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'll be posting our predictions. Let us know your prognostications in the comments.

1. Predictive analytics will be applied to more business processes, regardless of whether it helps. Netuitive is applying predictive analytics to IT system monitoring. This is an ideal use for predictive analytics. But Theresa Doyon has written about how survival analysis can be applied to customer attrition and employee turn-over.


We've also covered how one company is trying to use predictive analytics to match customers with customer service representatives with similar personalities. In some cases, companies may be able to put these sorts of analytics to good use. Other times, it will actually lead to worse decisions. None the less, analytics will be rapidly adopted in the coming year for many purposes regardless of the outcome.

2. The U.S. will add new provisions to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to include leaked classified information. Alternately, new international agreements will surface that attempt curb leaking and punish leakers.

3. Despite this and other measures taken by governments and corporations, leaking will continue. Governments and companies will continue to try to do better at keeping secrets and intimidating would-be whistle blowers rather than curbing the sorts of actions that make whistle blowers feel the need to leak documents in the first place. This will lead to far more leaks, despite crack downs. Completely above board organizations may still have disgruntled employees that leak sensitive information, but will have far less to worry about. I don't mean to suggest that "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" or any such nonsense. Many organizations have legitimate reasons for keeping information secret. But as long as organizations give employees reasons to become disillusioned, leaking will not only continue but increase.

4. Cybersecurity hype of 2011 will dwarf that of 2010. Emboldened by the likes of Anonymous, Jester and Gnosis we'll see more aggressive "hacktivism" in 2011 from the left, right and non-Euclidean. Meanwhile, we'll see more of the high-profile cyber-espionage started by Project Aurora and Stuxnet. The result will be far more hype than what we heard this year - which was a lot.

5. We'll see more CouchApp clients for popular web services. And CouchOne will do a better job of making these easy for non-technical users to adopt. If users and developers actually do start using them, we'll have the foundation for a more resilient Web. The best case scenario is that an existing client like HootSuite, Seesmic or TweetDeck will integrate CouchDB, but I'm not sure how likely that is.

6. Almost all the big social enterprise players will have some sort of "app store" offering. By the end of 2011, every social enterprise vendor will have a store like the one promised by Jive. The most successful will be the ones that make it easiest for both customers and developers to integrate apps deeply with the host platform's offerings.

7. Adobe will try to acquire Joyent. This year, Adobe announced that it will acquire the content management system vendor Day Software, which just happens to be one of the biggest contributors to the popular open source Apache web server. Joyent is the sponsor company of Node.js, a popular framework for building lightweight web servers and other server-side applications.

It makes sense that Adobe would want to be close to Node.js, but the acquisition would be about more than just acquiring the flavor-of-week development framework. I've written about how Adobe is building its own stack. Both Node.js and Joyent's core Infrastructure-as-a-Service business would fit into this strategy. Acquiring Joyent would put Adobe in the cloud computing game, which is something every big vendor wants to be in on.


Tags: Predictions

December 29 2010

2011 Predictions: Curt Hopkins

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'll be posting our predictions. Let us know your prognostications in the comments.

1: Filtering, harassment, arrest and torture of bloggers and other users of social media will increase exponentially. There has been a geometric increase in the last several years, but I believe this coming years will see every traditional tyranny fully embracing the Chinese model: technical, legal, social oppression online. Most democracies will more closely travel the trail earlier blazed by Australia, sacrificing civil rights to a make-believe safety. The U.S., followed by many European democracies, have been traumatized first by terrorist attacks, and now by Wikileaks, into clamping down, and are edging, however hesitantly by comparison, toward the Chinese model.


2: Access to both public and private collections, of documents, manuscripts and art, will increase. But compared to museums and libraries, universities will continue to drag their feet.

3: Non-profit projects like Worldreader will increase in number and penetration based on the above increase in access.

4: Breakthroughs in the qualitative nature of computing - metamaterials, quantum computing, etc. - will spark a new generation of computers whose end-result will be a definition of "computer" as different from what we have now, as what we have now is from the abacus.

5: Rampaging kill-bots will range across the landscape, snapping people in half with their merciless metal claws and spitting them on their liquid-metal handi-hands. They will be bested only when a rule-breaking space captain and a lovable rogue partner to destroy their logic circuits with the Epimenides paradox.


Tags: Predictions

2011 Predictions: Sarah Perez

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'll be posting our predictions. Let us know your prognostications in the comments.

1: Facebook/Google fight turns out well for end users in 2011 as both companies release tools and services to make our lives better, while competing to be the top Web destination worldwide.


2: Google Music Launches! It's awesome! ...But it's not as good as iTunes because it offers music only - not videos. I'm going with a Q1 2011 launch date on this one. And maybe an Amazon partnership, too.

3: In-app purchases take hold as new way to monetize apps, but the trend almost drives you nuts as even the silliest, most useless free apps try to make an extra buck through in-app purchases and virtual goods. (Want even more fart sounds? Check out the premium sounds here, only 99 cents each!)

4: Everyone rushes out to buy the Verizon iPhone. Later, Apple reveals the iPhone 5 with NFC built in. Everyone rushes out to buy that too.

5: Did I say NFC? Oh yes I did. We get a glimpse of the future of mobile commerce this year, but retailer buy-in won't happen in the next 12 months, sorry shoppers.

6: iPad continues to rule the tablet PC world, beating its Android competitors with ease. However, tablet computing as a trend continues, eating away at desktop/notebook/netbook sales.

7: Thanks to an increasingly diverse landscape of mobile platforms, developers turn in large numbers to HTML5.

8: Apps stores. Everywhere.

9: Badges fade in popularity.

10: Foursquare, not as fun as you first thought.

11: Facebook Places. More fun than you first thought.

12: Facebook Messages. Nope, still doesn't kill email. Nice try, though!

13. Chrome OS launches on netbooks to middling sales. People prefer tablets now.


Tags: Predictions

December 28 2010

2011 Predictions: Mike Melanson

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'll be posting our predictions. Let us know your prognostications in the comments.

1: The idea of the "real-time Web" will become the standard as dynamic, real-time content permeates every corner of the Web. Beyond updates, commenting, and news, the movement toward real-time will finally begin to fully realize the connection between the Web and the Internet of Things. Instead of hacks and mashups telling us when the next bus is coming or what point in the journey our package is in, we'll have real-time tracking via RFID or other IOT technologies.


2: Complex Internet TV systems like Google TV will find a way to become screen-agnostic or simpler, cheaper systems like Roku Box will win out with consumers. For these more complex integrations to work, they'll also need to refine their operating systems and offer integration with a wider variety of cable TV content. We have plenty of access to our email already. We don't want to pay $300 to see it on our TV screen too.

3: Mobile payment systems will continue to make in-roads in the US, especially as online payment systems become more widely accepted. They won't, however, have the same traction as these same systems in countries where the realities of everyday life necessitate them. (IE mobile payment systems in parts of Africa help workers protect themselves from getting mugged on their monthly pay day, according to one story I remember hearing on NPR.)

4: Speaking of money, we're going to see Facebook really do something with its virtual currency, Facebook Credits, over the next year. So far, the company got rid of its virtual gift store and made credits available for purchase using PayPal. They're now usable for in-game purchases, but we have yet to see the cross-over to the real world. We might see Facebook Credits become a real live currency in 2011, with users having the ability to buy tickets to events (remember that Eventbrite partnership stuff we saw earlier this year?) and maybe even make phone calls over Skype (there has to be more to that Skype/Facebook partnership, right?).

5: Over the last several months, we've heard more and more that Twitter is not just a place to go and tell us what you did for lunch - it's a place to go read about what other people ate for lunch. Okay, I jest. But really, Twitter is working on transitioning to a more consumer friendly, consumption-based tool and that's what we're going to see in 2011. The website redesign was just the beginning. Now, the company is going to figure out (beyond a list of 10 trending topics) how to filter and aggregate all that content and make it useful to the average Web user. And then stick some more advertising in there, likely of the local variety.


Tags: Predictions

2011 Predictions: Richard MacManus

Over December we've reviewed the top Web products and developments of 2010. Now it's time to look ahead to 2011. The ReadWriteWeb team is always thinking about what's next, so in our final series of 2010 we attempt to predict the big stories of 2011.

Predictions are of course a tricky business. The braver the predictions, the more risk of them not coming true! Without further ado, here are my predictions for 2011 - 5 serious and 1 not so serious.


1: Flipboard becomes the breakout news reading app of 2011. With its latest round of updates in December, Flipboard introduced Google Reader and made some significant changes to sharing and navigation. I expect Flipboard to introduce more such upgrades in 2011 and begin to expand to other devices than the iPad. These moves will push Flipboard into becoming a very popular app to browse, curate and share news each day. It won't usurp Google Reader for curating and sharing activities, simply because Google Reader can be used on the PC. However for mobile surfing, which will be an increasingly important way to browse news in 2011, Flipboard will rule in curating and sharing of media.

2: eBooks will hit 20% market penetration by the end of 2011. In 2010, the Association of American Publishers reported that eBooks made up 9.03% of total consumer book sales - compared to 3.31% at the close of 2009. I'm predicting this growth to rocket in 2011, thanks to a plentiful supply of cheap eReaders and a long overdue price war on eBooks between Amazon, Barnes&Noble and others. I predict it will reach 20%, in other words one in five books in 2011 will be sold as an eBook. If that bold prediction comes true, it will be great news for book consumers and will silence eBook skeptics about the future of eBooks. Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting paper books will go away, just that eBooks become much more popular and utilized.

3: Internet of Cars will be the surprise hit of the year. This year we saw further commercialization of services that connect everyday objects to the Internet. In 2011, I predict that cars (not smart homes, smart grids, etc.) will be where the most innovation and mainstream attention happens for Internet of Things technologies. Apps like AutoBot will gain traction over 2011.

4: Internet TV tips and gets huge consumer uptake. In 2010 there was a lot of progress in this sector: Apple TV re-design, Google TV, Boxee, Roku, Clicker and other developments. Most of this activity was largely experimental though, in that no one vendor got the formula quite right. For example, the launch problems of Google TV at the end of this year. However in 2011, consumers will flock to these products as they mature and more Internet TV content is made available - particularly in the U.S. market, but hopefully to international markets too.

Picking a breakout product is difficult, as each of the main players offers something different. I don't think there will be a breakout product, although Google has the broadest capabilities and so it has the potential to become one if it gets the product right. I predict that Google won't dominate this market though; and neither will Apple.

5: A major pop music star will do something amazing with web technologies, that blows open the online music scene. Arcade Fire set the scene in 2010, with their experimental collaboration with Google on an HTML5-fueled interactive video. In 2011, I expect an even bigger star - someone innovative like Kanye West or Lady Gaga, or a totally new star - to do something that re-defines what music means online. That could be something new in a live show, a music video, or something completely unexpected. To get more specific, I'll bet on something that blends a live album with internet technologies - which sells unexpectedly well and thus sets a trend in the music industry.

6: Bonus prediction: by the end of 2011, the most viewed YouTube video of all time will no longer be Justin Bieber. Instead it will be a collaboration between an unknown comedian and a breakout new baby. I'm envisaging a combination of comedy tap dancing and baby giggling (perhaps recorded using an auto-tune device). Yes, 2011 will mark the return of viral comedy and laughing babies to the top of the YouTube charts - this time as a duet!


Tags: Predictions
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