1) Google Will Trump Both TechMeme and FeedHeads
Amid the discussion of Google's sneaking in a social network, little has been said about Google Reader potentially tabulating and reporting the most commonly-shared items and most popular feeds. I believe that in 2008, Google Reader will start reporting the most popular feeds, clicked items and shared items. By the end of 2008, it will become equally important for bloggers, if not more so, to be atop this list, instead of on TechMeme. Google will also integrate this information for both Facebook and iPhone, competing head to head with Mario Romero's excellent Feedheads application.
2) Facebook Will Buy Digg in an All-Stock Transaction
With the company being valued at $15 billion, Facebook can offer around 5 percent of the company to Kevin Rose and team at Digg and net them pre-IPO shares of what's sure to be a white-hot 2009 offering. The all-stock transaction would value Digg above $500 million, the highest possible exit for the company. Public companies, including Microsoft, will counter with $300 million of real money and be rebuffed.
3) eBay Will Sell StumbleUpon to Yahoo! or News Corporation
eBay has done absolutely nothing with StumbleUpon since the service's $75 million acquisition. Unlike PayPal, which was a natural fit, StumbleUpon has no fit within the ecosystem of eBay. A more acquisition-savvy businesses, like Yahoo! or News Corp, will end up with the property by the end of the year. Expect this to accelerate alongside management changes at eBay and continued fallout after the Skype disaster. What it will do is pocket eBay some serious cash. This time, StumbleUpon goes for north of $200M.
4) Twitter Will Add Video, Photography Support
Moving outside of its 140-character niche, Twitter will enable bored microbloggers to show exactly what they are doing with still photos and 15 second video clips. Despite the novelty wearing off, many will continue to do so, gaining us precious photos of the window over their computer desk, overexposed facial closeups and pictures of their breakfast. The service will be integrated with Picasa, Flickr and Photobucket.
5) Apple Boot Camp Will Morph to Be Like Parallels, VMWare Fusion
Some time in 2008, Apple's Boot Camp application will no longer require a restart to run Windows applications. Users will be able to natively run Microsoft Outlook, Project, Access and all other Windows-only applications alongside their Mac OS X applications on any new Mac. While developers may decry the competition to Parallels and VMWare Fusion, Apple will remain quiet, and slowly take over the market.
6) At Least One Major Browser Will Embed Ad-Blocking
By the end of 2008, either Firefox, Safari or Opera will natively ship with the ability to block all ad banners and Google AdSense. Publishers and bloggers will make a lot of noise about it, while secretly avoiding ads themselves. A significant percentage of early adopters will change browsers solely for this feature.
7) Assetbar and FriendFeed Will Gain Early Adopter Audiences
Early adopters always looking for an edge will move away from Bloglines and Google Reader in search for something more cutting-edge. Many will turn to FriendFeed and Assetbar, following the latter's launch, to find a rich feed reader with social networking features. However, neither service will enjoy a significant market share prior to the end of 2008, and neither will be acquired by the end of 2008.
8) Video Blogging Will Remain Unpopular, Unprofitable
Despite advances in video capture and broadband speeds, Web users will not gravitate toward long-form video blogs, choosing instead to stick with text and photography. Only the rare extreme niche businesses will find any success with utilizing video for blogging.
9) iTunes Video Rentals Will Decimate Netflix, Blockbuster, Hurt Box Office
The introduction of video rentals on iTunes will not only force a dramatic subscriber exit for Netflix and reduced rentals at Blockbuster, but will also further slow attendance at movie theaters nationwide, as consumers find the service good enough, and much less inexpensive than a night out.
10) Fast Company Will be a Fast Stay for Robert Scoble
After joining FastCompany in early 2008, Robert Scoble will be at first jubilant, have initial success, and then plateau. While he will remain tremendously popular, there will already be discussions by the end of 2008 as to where he will end up in 2009, giving ValleyWag and Uncov, among others, plenty to gossip about.
Other 2008 predictions:
Jeremy Toeman: Technology Predictions for 2008
Paris Lemon: The Year Ahead 2008: 17 Predictions
The Economist: Technology in 2008
Mahalo: 2008 Technology Predictions
Center Networks: 2008 Predictions from CenterNetworks