2009 Technology Predictions Follow-Up

Here are ten technology predictions I made at the start of 2009 over on Technology Evangelist. Did I get any right?

1. Google Docs will add Mail Merge functionality. This highly requested feature will allow more people to rely primarily on Google Docs for their office software solution. For example, organizations could build mailing lists using the web forms available within Spreadsheets, then merge to labels with Docs.

Hasn’t happened yet. The head of Google’s enterprise division has stated that 2010 will be the year where people can seriously consider dropping Microsoft Office for Google Docs, so I imagine mail merge will be among the “30-50 updates” they make to their service this coming year.

2. The Apple TV will finally be discontinued (I’m sticking with this one for another year.)

I still don’t see the attraction of this product. Apple TV 3.0 came out in November, so it’s still alive at this point.

3. FriendFeed will peak (if it hasn’t already) as people realize some content is best consumed in silos.

Friendfeed.com 2009

I’d call that a peak.

4. Tumblr will double in traffic & users as people catch on to how easy it is to find and share really interesting stuff among friends.

Tumblr.com 2009

Correct. Underestimated.

5. Amazon will release a new Kindle that actually looks and feels cool. Possibly with a multi-touch screen.

The latest releases of the Kindle offer slight improvements in design, but the biggest improvement in look and feel is the release of the Kindle for the iPhone and iPod Touch (my preferred book reading platform these days). The Kindle for the PC reportedly has multi-touch functionality for zooming. I haven’t tried it.

6. A groundbreaking Android phone will be released with awesome technology but underwhelming sales when people fail to understand what “Android” is.

Some groundbreaking Android devices have been released, including the HTC Hero (my phone of choice these days on Sprint) and the Droid on Verizon. The sales have not been underwhelming, which I credit to a sore lack of innovation from Palm and Apple. Yes, I said Apple. They’ve created one style of phone in 2.5 years.

7. A least one suicide will happen at a nursing home that fails to install digital converter boxes on their patient’s TVs in time.

Poor prediction. Too tough to prove.

8. At least one company will suffer from a self-inflicted PR disaster due to something they Twittered on their business account that was meant for their personal account.

Here are some example PR blunders involving Twitter, which are much more mundane than I anticipated. I think mistweets are common enough that it would take a major screw-up to make news at this point.

9. RSS will become an important advertising technology as it is used to feed current offers into banner ads, making banners slightly more useful in 2009 than 2008.

This has certainly gained traction. Sites including Mashable, MinnPost and The Deets are using RSS feeds and twitter syndication to power at least some of the ads on their websites.

10. Mint.com will at least double in traffic and users. They may add widgets that allow consumers to publicly share their budget goals to hold themselves accountable among their friends.

Mint.com 2009

Only up 89% year over year at this point. Only. The free service has saved me hundreds of dollars in the past year. I’m a fan.

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