As we approach the end of 2007, it’s time to look back at the year that was and… start making forecasts for 2008.
Pete Blackshaw of Click Z created an “Official 2008 Web 2.0 Buzzword Forecast“. Though I don’t particularly care for buzzwords myself I decided to come up with my own list in response to Pete’s. Click Z’s list includes terms like “Search moptimization”, “World War 2.0”, “Wombagging”, “Greenlashing” and my favorite “Friendiligence” – adding an extra layer of due diligence on friend requests on Facebook, MySpace, and the next-killer-social-network-of-the-month. Pete, you should really coin some of those in the Urban Dictionary. Brad Feld of Feld Thoughts, a great VC blog, said that he wanted to vomit in his carbon neutral bathroom following that post.
So, without further introduction here is my own alternative list. Who knows? Maybe the buzzwords below will spread like snow flakes in millions of cubicles around the world next year.
1. “Web 3.0”
– “every time you say web 3.0 a startup dies…”, Sad but true – Web 2.0, the phrase coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004 is running out of air towards the end of 2007, and newcomers will upgrade to 3.0 to show how they are better, smarter, faster. The web 3.0 will move away from html and use technologies like Adobe’s AIR or MS Silverlight. A typical site combines the best of the web: a social network a-la Facebook pre-packed with the best apps, video, audio and text chat in one place, IPTV and digg-like buttons everywhere.
Related: “Web 4.0” the concept of a sentient, all-knowing network.
2. “App fatigue”
– I found a new appreciation for real mail recently. It seems like some days my inbox gets inundated with constant requests to be a vampire, a wolverine, see if i’m hot (or not), write on a fun wall and superpoke someone in the eye… enough is enough. Surfacing good content vs. spam or just silly apps will be necessary in order to cut through the clutter and sort the wheat through the chaff. In this category we can include “social network fatigue” as well. (thanks Gabe)
– Flash blogging platforms are going to be huge in 2008. I’ve already have a flog on Facebook, which allows me to syndicate my posts straight to my profile. Another example is the success of Tumblr, start posting anything in 10 seconds, no learning barriers. ‘Blog’ was the word of the year in 2004, ‘Flog’ might just be it in 2008. (thanks Phillip)
4. “bubble bursting 2.0”
– Yep, rock it like it’s 1999. As the song goes, “what goes up, must go down” and since VC investments sky rocketed in 2007, 2008 might have a hard fall for many startups. The Techcrunch deadpool, fuckedcompany.com and other cyber obituaries for websites might have their hands full as the money faucet closes. (thanks Ron)
5. “mobile web 2.0”
– Thanks to the iPhone, mobile browsing is going mainstream next year. In its recent release, NetApplications showed that in under two quarters, Apple’s handheld platform has surpassed Microsoft’s mobile platform in terms of browser use. Sure, it’s only 1% of total web browsing, but the Microsofts and Nokias of the world will not give up such a lucrative turf, therefore you can predict additional touch screen devices will come out, thus increasing mobile browsing. Everything is going mobile next year: mobile games, mobile blogs (moblogs), mobile facebook and mobile VOIP (I’ll cover Israel’s Fring in the near future) – we’ve only just begun. (thanks Ron)
– Android is the new iPhone. Or the Zune. Or none of the above. Google’s mobile phone has the potential to revolutionize the mobile space next year. Facebook apps will seem prehistoric compared to the apps that will be developed for mobile. Rather than spending $500 on an iPhone that is likely to become obsolete in six months, Google will give away androids for free (or almost free), and create lots of new real estate on millions of tiny screens.
7. “The live Web”
– Remember the semantic web? It didn’t quite make the splash people thought it would. The Live Web will consist of broadcasting and collaboration platforms such as meebo, kyte, Justin.tv, ustream, blogtv, tokbox, pudding media, scribd, etc. The emphasis will be on live interaction as opposed to asynchronous messaging and static content. Semantic-based companies like powerset have found themselves in trouble, while live web companies are thriving. That’s not to say that the semantic era is dead – Hakia recently raised $5M from an undisclosed investor, but overall I believe that people want fresh content through an interactive platform. (thanks Danny)
8. “Taxonoconomy” and “micro targeting”
– The social graph, a term coined by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year, defined the vast network of relationships and links between people and groups or “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related”. The key elements in digital social graphs consist of people’s identity, the type of the relationship and the relationships identity. So far so good. taxonoconomy is the next evolution – it consist of the monetization of folksonomies, targeting user populations based on the information collected from their social graph by serving ultra personalized ads. Potential contenders in the field: Friendfeed/ Spokeo, twitter/ Google’s Jaiku, app developers such as Slide and RockYou and evidently Facebook and Myspace. (thanks Philip and Ryan)
9. “RanSSom” or “aggregation”
– the cyberterrorist act of forcefully rerouting a RSS feed and asking a ransom for its safe return. This phenomenon hits creators of original content around the globe – aggregators subscribe to hundreds of feeds and display the full content of a site in a mirror location. The act is done anonymously and for pure profit – serving contextual ads against the stolen content. 2007 was the year of user generated content (see Time’s person of the year), my prediction is that 2008 will be “the year of aggregation” – bringing multiple sources to a single spot. (thanks David)
10. “identity 2.0”
– we will hear a lot about identity management in 2008. Technologies like OpenID and microformats are gaining, but there hasn’t been a clear winner in the field of identity management. A winner will encompass everything related to your identity on the web: reputation management (what are people saying about you), identity theft and phising protection (who is logging in as you/ Fakebooking) and identity management (your profile on the web, saved in one spot and applicable to any new site). Who can do it? Google, Verisign and perhaps a new player in the industry. UPDATE: Pew Releases Report on Online Identity Management and Search.
11. “p2p lending” and “micro lending“
– I could not resist. Services like prosper.com, kiva.org, CircleLending, Facebook’s Lending Club and UK based Zopa have changed lives throughout the world since their introduction. Prosper alone transferred more than $100 million in loans between individuals since inception. Despite the sub-prime cirisis, individuals tend to be more risk averse than banks when lending money, which helped establish a default rate lower than 3%. Banks would love to be so efficient. I predict micro lending and p2p lending to grow in 2008, not only in volume and magnitude, but also in functionality.
Disagree with my buzzwords and trends? beg to differ? Join the discussion and leave a comment.
In a related note, the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary invited users to choose the Word of the Year from a list of 20 candidates such as “blamestorm,” “hypocrite,” and “quixotic” based on the list of popular searches on the dictionary’s site. And the winner? ‘W00t’ (spelled with two zeros) – expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word “yay”. In number two by the way, was Facebook.
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