Tech Trends for 2008

Last week, at my dayjob, I was asked to share some of my own predictions for the coming year. I'm no fortune teller by no means. But I do follow a lot of trends online, so I'm not going to tell you what I think is going to happen. Rather, I'm going to share with you, six technologies, platforms, concepts, or discussions that I think will become significantly more important this year.

1. Mobile web usage will take it's place in 2008.

With 2007's advent of the iPhone followed by the introduction of Google's Android platform the mobile web medium is on fire. The release of the upcoming iPhone SDK to developers in February will only throw gasoline into the inferno.

2. OpenID will take off.

The single login for all domains approach was recently adopted by AOL so all AIM accounts could effectively be used as openID. Follow that, with this month's announcement that Yahoo is converting all of their accounts to OpenID and you now have a widespread customer base for the development community to support.

3. Web standards will see significant gains.

Microsoft is on the ball this year, following IE7's release they are already set to release IE8 this year. The best part is that IE8 already passes the ACID2 test set forth by the W3C. As Microsoft is still the vast majority leader in web browser market-share, their commitment to modern web standards is motivating the entire standards community to adopt usage of newer tools. More importantly, it's also encouraging the somewhat stagnant W3C working groups to get organized and make progress on the new standards for CSS3 and HTML5. And to make matters even more optimistic, Microsoft's promoted strategy for browser targeting vs. doctypes appears to promise swift browser improvements for implementations of web standards.

4. Social Media networks will come under much scrutiny.

As social media juggernauts try to figure out how to monetize their services, users will realize just how public they are making their perceived private information to the world. Unfortunately, they will find this out as they are unintentionally used as personal marketers for the large corporations they purchase products from. This has already caused backlash and resistance to social media. It will only continue as this is an inevitable path to the profitability of these social media. I'm not saying social media is a bad thing but I do expect a lot of negative publicity towards these services as they transition into a more commercial business model in a manner that users may not be used to.

5. Dataportability will become an issue this year.

As the line between professional and personal usage for social media continues to blur, users will want more control over the information provided to them. Towards the end of 2007, Robert Scoble discovered the unpublicized consequences of using tools to extract all of his contacts from his Facebook account. As a result, on January 10th 2008, Facebook has joined the DataPortability workgroup.

6. Web Based Software on Your Desktop

I'm not going to be surprised at all if we see more web based services deploying tools built in Adobe AIR or Microsoft's Silverlight. Both technologies emerged in 2007 but there has yet to be a 'killer app' that has made either platform a huge success yet. But these technologies are just coming into their own at the moment. I won't be surprised if we see a good amount of useful apps coming out this year. After all, web designers and developers are already building apps contained in the browser. These tools will make it easy for them to export them straight into a desktop application following their existing workflows. I only expect good things to come of this.