Saturday, 31 January 2009

2009 Predictions

So, January - if any month was a goldmine for bloggers it's January. Firstly, it's just been Christmas so all those odd gadgets are ready and waiting for your community review and secondly it gives everyone an opportunity to try and guess what the New Year will bring.

And why not? Here's my top 10 trends for 2009:

1. Mobile Web - it's not just about the iPhone, 2009 will be the year that sorts the wheat from the chaff in terms of mobile websites and applications. Those who should be offering services to the small screens will be starting to panic by December if they don't have a top class interface. After all, mobile is the new black.

2. Always On -in many ways this is an extension of the Mobile Web but WiFi (free, no warranty and unsecured) will continue to expand and the gaps will be filled by 3G and other technologies. 

3. Location Sensitivity - Mozilla Geode, GPS in phones, and all kinds of geo-mashing means that by the end of 2009 we'll be starting to expect that web applications know where we are when we use them. This will lead to all kinds of cool Library applications.

4. Reality Will Be (even more) Augmented - the first three predictions will start to work together to provide more augmented experiences. Who hasn't seen someone walking down the street, with google maps on their iPhone? The next step will be continually updated information which can be used to 'enhance' your experience of the real world with all kinds of metadata - imagine google earth but in the real world.

5. The Google OS Comes of Age - more people will ditch e for g, google docs, gmail, calendar and other cloud apps will become far more prevalent and people's first reaction will be to go online. Windows 7 might even boot straight to IE...

6. IPv6 - There'll be an increasing push on moving to IPv6 in order to cater for all those cars, phones, watches and spoons which will need IP addresses.

7. Chrome will Catch Up with Firefox - Well, maybe not by the end of 2009 but Google will package Chrome in as many ways as possible and this will eat into the 'anything but IE' market. IE 8 will probably win some floating browsers back and will, of course, have the core 'bundled with Windows' market. It's not unthinkable that we'll enter into a second browser wars with Google and Microsoft head to head in 2010.

8. Fibre Becomes Political - Obama's already stated that building a new communications infrastructure is a key part of his technology agenda and Gordon Brown's jumped on the bandwagon. Whether this is modern day boondoggling or not we'll end up with a better spread of high bandwidth access in the end. 2009 will probably be more about preparing, posturing and fears of a new digital divide.

9. Twitter Jumps the Shark - Are there any celebs who aren't tweeting (or at least having their assistant tweet for them?). People will start to see that Twitter is mostly divided between 'broadcasting' A-listers and banal "@jon - had beans for tea" individuals - all the effective use in the middle will shift to business or social-network based presence services. 

10. Better Language Processing - Ok, maybe this won't come in 2009 but it's just on the horizon. It would be fantastic to think that the semantic web could be fueled by well formatted, and easily accessible, XML data but there's going to need to be something that bridges the gap and can identify and attribute triples from the language of text. We might see increasing use of simple approaches in 2009 (identifying phone numbers, places, postal codes, etc) at least.

Here's some other 2009 lists for those who are interested: Robin Hamman, Trendspotting, Tame the Web, Pew, Horizon Report - A & NZ and various LITA people.

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