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December 14, 2008

My 2008 Tech Predictions Look Bad As Year Nears a Close

It's a year-end tradition for many media, blogs and individuals, to predict what will happen over the next year. Some prefer to make their guesses fairly straight-forward in an effort to be right (Example: Apple will release new notebooks with a faster processor at MacWorld) and others will make their guesses seemingly outlandish, so that if they're right, they're seen as virtual psychics. Others, somewhere in between. At the conclusion of 2007, I made ten predictions that I thought would be fun, and as we're coming on the one year anniversary of that post, it's a good thing you didn't bet your home mortgage on my list. (What? You say there are other issues with your mortgage? Oh.)

See: 10 Predictions for 2008 In the World of Tech

In the spirit of reducing my ego, here are how those ten predictions in the world of tech stand:

1) Google Will Trump Both TechMeme and FeedHeads

Wrong. I expected that Google would start to tabulate its shared items and most popular feeds via Google Reader, and that using this data, Google could provide a democratic version of Techmeme, or at least pull Feedheads outside of Facebook. Instead of Google doing this however, it was ReadBurner, followed by RSSMeme and others, including Feedheads, who started a site at www.feedheads.com. Later in the year, Google Blog Search did introduce the option to show hot topics in tech, but it's largely been a stale effort. At this point, Techmeme is still more important than Google in this regard, and Google Reader has declined to show most popular feeds or shared items.

(Disclosure: I am an advisor to ReadBurner and took the position in August.)

2) Facebook Will Buy Digg in an All-Stock Transaction

Wrong. I thought Facebook would use its expensive stock and buy up some smaller companies. Digg continually sounded like it was shopping itself, but it never sold, and the company's CEO often denied talks were occuring with anyone. Also, given the stock market crash, Facebook is no doubt valued much lower these days, making a stock transaction less likely.

3) eBay Will Sell StumbleUpon to Yahoo! or News Corporation

Wrong. So Far. In September, TechCrunch and others reported that eBay planned to sell StumbleUpon, but no sale has taken place yet. At this point, also, with Yahoo! crumbling, they are less likely to take on the service.

4) Twitter Will Add Video, Photography Support

Wrong. Twitter focused on growing and not crashing this year. Still just text.

5) Apple Boot Camp Will Morph to Be Like Parallels, VMWare Fusion

Wrong. I hardly hear anything about Boot Camp these days, likely because VMWare Fusion and Parallels have become entrenched, and nobody cared about Apple's "restart" alternative. My comment that Apple would "slowly take over the market" in this space also looks quite dumb, as did the expectation that Windows applications could boot alongside Mac apps. The question is, why not?

6) At Least One Major Browser Will Embed Ad-Blocking

Wrong. And it's too bad! Sure would change things a bit if somebody could figure out how to check a box and have graphical ads or text ads disappear.

7) Assetbar and FriendFeed Will Gain Early Adopter Audiences

Wrong and Right. AssetBar, in its attempt to replace Google Reader, failed fast. FriendFeed, however, did much better than I could have guessed at the time I wrote the post. Obviously, I played a small role in evangelizing FriendFeed through it coming out of beta in early 2008, but it got bigger than even I expected. My comment saying that "neither would be acquired by the end of 2008" did manage to be true.

8) Video Blogging Will Remain Unpopular, Unprofitable

Right. While there are some bloggers who prefer video and are using it, from Robert Scoble at FastCompany TV to Loic LeMeur at Seesmic, it hasn't become as second-nature as standard blogging or mciroblogging. And so far as I know, nobody is making money on this in a consistent way.

9) iTunes Video Rentals Will Decimate Netflix, Blockbuster, Hurt Box Office

Mostly Wrong. Netflix didn't blink against iTunes' charge. They instead branched out with their "watch instantly" feature and partnered up with TiVo and others. Blockbuster is still a disaster, and I certainly am not going to the box office thanks to so many alternatives. But iTunes video rentals cannot be said to have hit Netflix and others all that much.

10) Fast Company Will be a Fast Stay for Robert Scoble

Wrong, So Far. Robert joined FastCompany at the beginning of the year, and is putting up some interesting content. That said, FastCompany has seen changes in focus and leadership, and I am curious to see how his show evolves in 2009. Scoble continues to be a mainstay on the social Web and at industry events of course, so even if 2009 sees him somewhere else, it won't be far from the limelight.

So wasn't that fun? Now you see you can largely ignore my predictions, or maybe, I should try harder to be right. Maybe, if I'm good, I can put a 2009 prediction list up by the end of the year...