tech crunch editor Erick Schonfeld augures again and gives us 7 technologies he sees most promising in 2011. Yes – I am not a fan of top ten lists or vague predictions either, but this guy really has a sixth sense in predicting tech development.
For 2010 e.g. he picked the Tablet (hello, iPad), Geo (Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, mobile location-aware search, etc.), Realtime Search (it became an option on Google) and Android (now even bigger than the iPhone), HTML5, Augmented Reality, Mobile Video (FaceTime andstreaming video apps pushed it forward), Mobile Transactions (Square and other transaction processing options came onto the scene), and Social CRM.
Impressing, isn’t it?
So enjoy his picks for 2011:
- Web Video On Your TV: We’ve already seen many attempts to turn the Internet into a video-delivery pipe to rival cable TV: Google TV, Apple TV, the Boxee Box, Roku, and a slew of “Internet-enabled” TVs. No cable killer yet – but they are seeding the market to bring Internet video to your large-screen TV.
- Quora Will Have Its Twitter Moment: Social Q&A site Quora may be the current darling of Silicon Valley, but not a lot of people beyond the insular tech startup world actually use it yet. Quora is the layering of an interest graph on top of people’s social graph. On Quora, you can follow not only people, but topics and questions. It defines the world by your interests.
- Mobile Social Photo Apps: The end of 2010 witnessed a spate of mobile photo apps including Instagram, PicPlz and Path. They let you take a picture, mark your location, and share it with your social network (sometimes public, sometimes private).
- Mobile Wallets: Cell phone as a credit card? Everyone from Apple and Google to Nokia want to make that a reality and tap into the mobile payments market. Both Apple and Google are exploring this opportunity. Google bought mobile payments startup Zetawire to gain experience and the latest Android phone, the Nexus S, comes with an NFC chip—the same kind that is embedded into credit cards and lets you pay by waving it over a wireless reader. The iPhone 5 also may come equipped with an NFC chip, and Apple was sniffing around mobile payments startup BOKU last year for a possible acquisition. It is going to take more than just NFC chips in every phone to make mobile payments a reality, but efforts by the major players this year should begin to move the needle.
- Context-Aware Apps: Whether it’s search, mobile, or social apps and services, the most useful apps people will keep coming back to are the ones which help people cut through the increasing clutter of the Internet. Apps that are aware of the context in which they are being used will serve up better filtered information. When you search on your mobile phone, that means you get local results and local offers served up first. If you are on a service like Quora that understands your interest graph, it means that you are only shown topics that you care about, sorted in realtime. If you are on a news site, you will see the most shared links from people in you follow on Twitter or are connected to on Facebook. Music and movie services will similarly surface social recommendations. In a world of information overload, context is king.
- Open Places Database: Mobile apps focus on geo capabilities of phones to pinpoint your exact location and show you what is around you. The problem is, that everyone from Google to Facebook to Foursquare creating their own database of places – which of course get less complete by such diversification. A general database with open APIs is essential to keep this growing.
- The Streaming Cloud: As all media moves to the cloud, streaming of such content to any device is a logical step to go. Why would you want to bother with managing all the download rights for the songs you buy from iTunes between your iPhone, iPad, laptop, and your wife’s computer, when you could just sign in form anywhere and start streaming?