Google’s stock will top $900 next year. Online voting won’t happen in this election year. And Microsoft Corp. will make a big push — into virtualization. Those were among the forecasts made last November at the WSA ‘s annual Predictions Dinner. But hold onto your dinner napkins. Those predictions hardly scratch the surface of the many ideas bubbling up like dry champagne among Seattle startups and other Web innovators for the year ahead. Our 2008 countdown:
1. Web-Friendly skies. JetBlue’s LiveTV ushers in the era that Boeing’s Connexion pioneered. In-flight email, SMS, IM and Web browsing will take wing but don’t count on Skype. “You are now free to move about the Web.”
2. Web Services platforms… will be a fierce battleground in ’08, with Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and others competing to provide ‘Web OS’ and online storage to consumers. Au revoir desktop apps. Hello Webified, RSS-ified software services.
3. Green gadgetry. Increased power efficiency, better battery life and innovative power sources, such as inductive charging, will emerge in the form of handy gadgets. Seattle’s Green Festival is in April. The NYC Greener Gadgets Conference kicks off Feb 1.
4. Walled gardens crumble. Net neutrality will win out. The box guys — the Nokias, Apples, Microsofts, etc. — will prevail over the carriers.
5. Med Rx. U.S. healthcare will get its proper diagnosis. Friday Harbor’s Mark Anderson espies that the 2008 presidential election will force America to take notice of just how broken the healthcare system really is.
6. The wonder of Wii. Microsoft and Sony have been wrong-footed by the Nintendo Wii video game console that makes up in pure interaction what it lacks in graphics performance. The time is now to get people off their couches and exercising more than their thumbs. Seattle Gameco’s take note.
7. Raising Efunds. Don’t be surprised if many small and midsize businesses turn to online peer-to-peer lenders. P2P lending will continue to surge in 2008, even as the economy teeters on recession.
8. Changes in the Social fabric. Facebook is going to see the same kind of decline in popularity in 2008 that MySpace saw in 2007. Implicit applications, which monitor our habits and automatically infer our likes, will rise.
9. Speaking of social news… Digg is going to be acquired by one of the mainstream media conglomerates. Newsvine got bought. NewsCloud or Instant Journalist could be next.
10. Make it or break it for CIO’s. 2008 will be a “make it or break it year” for corporate CIOs as executive boards restructure IT departments and reevaluate their unding and strategic leadership. 2008 will be a wake-up call particularly those who have eschewed polishing their executive level skills in order to focus on delivering applications and training developers.
11. CRM is back. A combination of social networking, analytics and collaboration technology in the mainstream CRM domain will directly benefit individual users rather than just sales and marketing managers.
12. Voting, not voters, will remain out of touch. Touch-screen systems do not stand a chance in ‘08 because they are not secure, do not leave a paper trail and frustrate election officials who are not trained to operate them. [24×7]