2010 Predictions

December 31st, 2009 14 Comments

Photo by Irargerich from Flickr used under Creative Commons

Photo by Irargerich from Flickr used under Creative Commons

I’m stuck in this yearly cycle of wrap-up, prediction review and new predictions.

John B. made an interesting point about predictions yesterday:

Regarding tech predictions, the fascinating part isn’t WHETHER the predictions were right or wrong, but WHY they were right or wrong.

I agree, especially since my track record is spotty. I guess the whys keep us interesting beyond the binary win-fail.

Anyway, every year I do this, I have one or two trends I *really* believe in, and then I rack my brain to come up with some filler to make it seem like I have a wide perspective. Or something.

If you read here, you probably already know what I think is trending, since I talk about it all the time to sound intelligent, but I’ll try to spice the usual suspects up a bit to make it interesting.

I’ll also try to apply some dimensions to make the predictions easier to analyze in a year.

Here goes.

Reputation will be all the rage in 2010.
I’m a huge proponent of reputation; if you want a refresher, check out my thoughts on influence and reputation and ratings. The explosions of Facebook and Twitter have created a vacuum for reputation.

Don’t believe me?

According to Mashable, there are more than 15,700 self-described social media experts on Twitter, up from about 4,400 in May.

You read that right. Apparently, some 11,000 social media experts have achieved expert status in about six months, or maybe they just stopped being modest.

So, if you’re looking for an expert, how can you vet this list?

Still not convinced that reputation is important? Look at Twitter’s verified accounts feature, which applies authenticity to the tweeter, so you can rest easy that you’re following the real Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) or the real Shaq (@THE_REAL_SHAQ).

Social services gain by adoption, and they gain exponentially by celebrity adoption.

Reputation, influence and authenticity all answer one basic question: should I pay attention to this user or not?

Unfortunately, there isn’t (yet) a single, easily-consumed score for this. However, expect this to change in 2010.

This used to be an early adopter problem, but as the noise levels increase for the bell curve, the demand will be met by someone, namely Twitter.

It’s no accident that my examples are from Twitter. I’m thinking they’ll roll out reputation-based features in 2010. Since they collect followers/following/listed, they have a basis for a reputation algorithm. They could include time on Twitter, total tweets, number of times retweeeted, etc.

These are well-documented reputation metrics that others have used in the past using Twitter’s API. It makes sense.

A bonus prediction: I’m expecting some startup will unveil its take on social reputation at SXSW this year, making it the app du jour.

Geo will be left at the altar in 2010.
I think there’s a lot of potential in geo-location services, both standalone and as adjuncts to social services. I’m not alone.

Geo made progress in 2009.

Twitter started geo-tagging tweets and acquired GeoAPI. Facebook made changes to its terms of service that many believed were to pave the way for location services. Location-based games like foursquare and Gowalla debuted. Apple added geo-location to Snow Leopard. The Apple App Store got a bunch of turn-by-turn GPS apps; Google showed off its improved Maps on Android 2.0.

All these break down into two use cases: “where-am-I” and “where are other people”.

The “where-am-I” use case will grow like mad in 2010. The “where are other people” use case will wither, despite investments from major social services like Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

Why? I don’t think the average user sees enough value in any of the social geo services to overcome the basic creepiness of broadcasting location.

And yes, that includes foursquare.

To make it more quantifiable: Twitter, Facebook and Google will all extend their geo-location services, but only a small percentage will use these services. I know scoring this will depend on metrics we might not get, but I think an overall sense of adoption (or lack thereof) will be good enough.

A bonus prediction: Some startup will realize that geo services are more valuable within an enterprise and apply the consumer model to an enterprise product. It won’t get mass adoption, but it will lay the groundwork for geo in the enterprise.

Enterprises stand to gain a lot more from geo, since they have more than just people to tag. For example, imagine if all ERP and CRM transactions were geo-tagged consistently. This would provide another way to analyze business data.

Broadband TV will gain switchers en masse.
This one applies to the US, although other countries will see similar behavior.

I think it’s safe to say that traditional content producers fear the intertubes more than ebola, and not just because of rampant (or so we’re told) pirating. Content obtained outside official channels cannot be analyzed, which totally borks the standard revenue model.

What do I mean?

Every piece of content is judged based on its popularity, which drives advertising, distribution, future deals for the content creators, etc. Beyond losing money to pirating, content producers need to control distribution to determine popularity.

I also think history tells us that they don’t embrace the free as in beer model.

In 2010, TV content will follow the examples of the music and movie industries, clamp down on free intertubes distribution and find ways to make us pay for content.

It already looks like Hulu will go to a paid subscription model soon, and Apple is sniffing around ways to expand iTunes to include a paid subscription for TV-on-demand.

This spells bad news for watching shows online for free, at the content producers site or elsewhere.

It might be good news if you’re ready to dump your satellite or cable provider though. A set-top box from Boxee or an Apple TV with actual TV-on-demand would be just the thing, especially at the relatively low price points that are likely to be available if/when these debut.

I, for one, would seriously consider switching. The one (big) sticking point would be further dependence on broadband; if it goes down, how will I entertain myself without intertubes or TV?

I’ll quantify a bit. Expect all network (ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS and their cable outlets) content to go behind a pay wall, and expect the same from most cable (Discovery, TLC, ESPN, MTV, etc.) providers.

Bonus predictions: This one’s a lay-up; Hulu will develop a set-top box. Expect Netflix to expand into TV streaming to capture some of the demand created by the loss of free TV online.

Now, for a few random OS and browser predictions, just because.

Mobile will be awesome in 2010. Tough to quantify, but the iPhone will open to other networks and continue its rise to dominance. Android will emerge as the only competition to the iPhone as Google recruits more carriers; you could argue that now. Oh, and the Palm Pre and its variants will virtually disappear from the mobile space.

What do you think about these? Am I on target or insane? Anything to add? Find the comments.

See you in a year to dissect these.


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14 Responses to “2010 Predictions”

  1. uvox Says:

    Interesting. Agree with reputation. I also think you'll see a big uptake in the market of Android/NexusOne devices and accompanying apps, fall off in Facebook numbers in the US and Europe (it's all turned pretty lame by now), a good toehold in the market established by Apple tablets, mobile apps growth, Bing eating into Google search share and making gains in China. And oh, yeah, I will go to the gym 5 times a week.

  2. uvox Says:

    Oh, and Google Wave will go nowhere… pretty dismal as is….

  3. Jake Says:

    Android is a real threat to iPhone OS, and the strategy is sound. That will be fun to watch in 2010. I have to disagree about Facebook. I think the traffic and numbers will steadily increase; FB has fallen off for a lot of us, but most people are still in love with them, especially the social gaming aspects.

    Prolly an acquisition there, either by Facebook directly or by a competitor like Google.

    Bing might eat a little market share, but it's going to take a real game-changer, like social search on FB (see my pos) to make a real dent.

    Enjoy the gym :)

  4. Jake Says:

    While I agree that Wave has been a disappointment, its real promise has always been through developers, especially in the enterprise. Time will tell. I think it's too early for any real adoption. They rushed it a bit.

  5. uvox Says:

    I am out of the office until 4-January-2010.

    Please leverage any forums in my absence.

    For NH review coordination contact Georgia.

    Happy Holidays.

    Ultan Ó Broin | Director | Applications User Experience | +353 1 803 1905

  6. uvox Says:

    I am out of the office until 4-January-2010.

    Please leverage any forums in my absence.

    For NH review coordination contact Georgia.

    Happy Holidays.

    Ultan Ó Broin | Director | Applications User Experience | +353 1 803 1905

  7. Jake Says:

    That's the fun part.

  8. uvox Says:

    Interesting. Agree with reputation. I also think you'll see a big uptake in the market of Android/NexusOne devices and accompanying apps, fall off in Facebook numbers in the US and Europe (it's all turned pretty lame by now), a good toehold in the market established by Apple tablets, mobile apps growth, Bing eating into Google search share and making gains in China. And oh, yeah, I will go to the gym 5 times a week.

  9. uvox Says:

    Oh, and Google Wave will go nowhere… pretty dismal as is….

  10. Jake Says:

    Android is a real threat to iPhone OS, and the strategy is sound. That will be fun to watch in 2010. I have to disagree about Facebook. I think the traffic and numbers will steadily increase; FB has fallen off for a lot of us, but most people are still in love with them, especially the social gaming aspects.

    Prolly an acquisition there, either by Facebook directly or by a competitor like Google.

    Bing might eat a little market share, but it's going to take a real game-changer, like social search on FB (see my pos) to make a real dent.

    Enjoy the gym :)

  11. Jake Says:

    While I agree that Wave has been a disappointment, its real promise has always been through developers, especially in the enterprise. Time will tell. I think it's too early for any real adoption. They rushed it a bit.

  12. uvox Says:

    <deleted OOF>

  13. uvox Says:

    <deleted OOF>

    Let's see!

  14. Jake Says:

    That's the fun part.

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