Ed's 2009 Technology Predictions

It’s January 2nd, so the following predictions have 364 days to happen.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

2008 Technology Predictions Follow-Up

Did anything happen technology-wise in 2008? I made 10 predictions at the start of the year. Let’s see how I did:

1. Netflix will deliver more content digitally than via mail in December 2008.

Hmm, I can find stats that verify this. However, Netflix has come out with their own streaming box, enabled streaming on Tivo, multiple other devices, enabled streaming for the Mac, and has made unlimited streaming available on almost all accounts (I get unlimited streaming for under $10/mo). While the paths may or may not have crossed yet, it’s clear that they will if they haven’t already.

2. Google will enable video-specific advertising for YouTube videos.

Yep.

3. Apple will drop Apple TV for the Mac Mini and a Mini will be available for $499.

Wrong and Wrong. Apple TV lives on and the Mac Mini starts at $599. The mini remains a better choice, in my opinion.

4. A usable wireless keyboard with touch pad will make couch surfing on a TV fun.

Yep. Although it hasn’t received as much uptake as I would have imagined.

5. Google Docs will add “export as .ppt” making the Presentations application awesome.

Yep. I use it every week.

6. Yahoo will buy Zoho and build a business suite around that and Zimbra.

Nope. I didn’t see the train wreck that was Yahoo in 2008 coming.

7. A team of striking writers with non-Hollywood backing will create an online show that blows away what we’ve seen to date.

Nope. FunnyOrDie is the closest I’ve seen, but it’s not putting out enough volume of consistently great stuff to make this a yes.

8. The biggest news stories of the 2008 US presidential election will consistently break on blogs, Twitter, and YouTube rather than mainstream media sites.

Hard to measure, although a lot of information regarding Sarah Palin popped up on blogs. There’s no question that blogs, Twitter, and YouTube played a big role in the election. Especially through content that was created by people other than the campaigns.

9. The biggest trend in YouTube videos will be how-to dance steps for popular songs. It will start to influence wedding song requests.

The how-to thing is happening, but isn’t as big as I would have expected at this point. Tribute dance videos, such as the 1,810 “Put a Ring On It” videos uploaded to date have been a bigger growth industry for YouTube.

10. The Wall Street Journal’s online edition will go free well before the November election. Influence will trump revenue short-term.

Surprisingly, this did not happen. But I believe the WSJ was less influential than it otherwise would have been because they didn’t go free.

Not my best performance. Depending on how you judge it, I was at around 50% this year.

Ed's 2008 Technology Predictions

We’re 3.65 days into 2008 and I haven’t done a predictions post yet. With 99% of the year left, here it is.

While I’m proud of my success rate with 2007 predictions, this year I’m going to shoot for something closer to a 50% record. To do that, I’m going to go for predictions that I believe will happen, but may not make it by the end of this year.

  1. Netflix will deliver more content digitally than via mail in December 2008.
  2. Google will enable video-specific advertising for YouTube videos.
  3. Apple will drop Apple TV for the Mac Mini and a Mini will be available for $499.
  4. A usable wireless keyboard with touch pad will make couch surfing on a TV fun.
  5. Google Docs will add “export as .ppt” making the Presentations application awesome.
  6. Yahoo will buy Zoho and build a business suite around that and Zimbra.
  7. A team of striking writers with non-Hollywood backing will create an online show that blows away what we’ve seen to date.
  8. The biggest news stories of the 2008 US presidential election will consistenly break on blogs, Twitter, and YouTube rather than mainstream media sites.
  9. The biggest trend in YouTube videos will be how-to dance steps for popular songs. It will start to influence wedding song requests.
  10. The Wall Street Journal’s online edition will go free well before the November election. Influence will trump revenue short-term.

Scoring Ed's 2007 Technology Predictions

The year isn’t quite over yet, but I think we’re far enough along to score the 2007 tech predictions I made back in January.

A lot has happened in the last year on the web. More applications have moved to the web, and applications that were already on the web have become richer. Also, new forms of web based advertising have taken hold. Of course, that’s easy to say once it’s happened. Is that what I said back at the start of the year?

Let’s see how I did:

1. Flickr will add photo editing . . . beyond rotate.

Flickr Edit

Correct! As of December 5, this is possible, and it works very well. 10 Points.

2. Google will buy and integrate a web based PowerPoint competitor.

Correct! This went live on September 18th. It’s still pretty raw, but it’s definitely live within Google Docs. 10 points.

3. MySpace.com’s page views in Dec 2006 will be the same or smaller in Dec 2007.

MySpace 2007 Page Views

Close. I think this was my boldest prediction. MySpace was on a roll, but I got the feeling that it may be peaking. Looks like that peak came at the end of teh school year. A January 2007 vs 2008 time frame probably would have hit this. 5 points.

4. YouTube will add revenue sharing with video publishers.

Correct! This finally happened in May. I have a feeling that YouTube would say that this has been somewhat underwhelming to date, but at least they’re trying things. They did take this further just this week. 10 points.

5. Yahoo will acquire Blip.tv as to move them into revenue sharing with video publishers.

Incorrect. Yahoo didn’t buy blip.tv and frankly, didn’t do much to move forward with video in 2007. 0 Points.

6. Google will launch a client based Email / RSS Reader.

Correct. Google launched Gears in May, which allows for offline RSS reading. It doesn’t support offline email reading yet, but they’ve already stated that it will. 10 points.

7. MySpace and Facebook will launch mobile versions so students can get around blocked access at school.

Correct and Correct. 10 points.

8. Mobile advertising will take off, but with marginal results for advertisers.

“Take off” may be a bit bold for how far we’ve come, but being able to buy mobile targeted ads through AdWords probably makes the cut. 10 points.

9. Google Radio will have a restricted launch after securing ad space in major cities.

Correct. In fact, they’ve gone beyond that, opening things up to all advertisers – at least in the USA where they have inventory available. 10 points.

10. A US presidential candidate will be forced to drop out of the race based on the contents of a video published to YouTube.

Wrong. 0 Points.

I thought this ad from Mike Huckabee might do the trick, but I underestimated the power of Chuck Norris. I’ll never make that mistake again:

Overall, I’m giving myself a 7 out of 10 with 1/2 credit on my MySpace flattening prediction. If you think I’ve graded myself unfairly, let me know if the comments.

For the ones I got wrong, should I let them ride another year? Or, do you think they still have a shot in the last 3 weeks of 2007?