Predictions 2010 (on Silicon Angle)

Silicon Angle ran a guest post by me while I was on vacation (written with my work hat on, and with input from my team). My five predictions for Web technology are:

  1. The rise of the long form
  2. The Cambrian explosion of devices
  3. The “Website” will dissolve into the real-time Web
  4. The quality/quantity chasm will deepen
  5. Social filtering will start to displace search as the primary driver of monetizable content

Click on to read the details. Shortened URL for the original post for your C&P pleasure:

Of course, my predictions are a function of my personal and professional biases/interests/agendas, but still, I do believe them. I think there really are forces making these 5 things happen. Thoughts?

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. Venkatesh,
    Coffee is on me. We loved your post. Keep them coming. SiliconAngle is a place for quality opinion. We don’t mind open opinions among friends to fuel the conversation.


  2. #5, if true is a huge deal. For it to happen, social filtering would have to be where you go to find someone to install a toilet or buy some socks, I think. My preference is to think of advertising in terms of intentional vs incidental information. Search is usually about intentional information (who can install my toilet?) while most social anything is incidental (Here’s my top 6 toilet anecdotes.).

    Since Adwords is the only data point for wildly successful advertising online, it’s hard to draw any abstract conclusions. I would however, prefer to bet on intentional information if I were predicting monetisation. Social apps/sites do have some entrants here (Where does Julie from College live now? How do I do x in COBOL?), but so far they contribute far more to the incidental side of the world.

    Today, a toileter or dentist can call up a PPC company & have the phone ring later that day. He doesn’t have to be smart or funny. He doesn’t have to “get it.” He just needs to be willing to pay to install toilets (presumably for more money).

    WOMO may be all the rage in the kind of circles that rage but I’m not sure how it can work for the dentist on any kind of scale. Companies that can WOMO probably need to be built from the ground up, Seth Godin style with a culture of being worth listening to and a product worth talking about. There just isn’t enough attention available in the world for every accountant or handyman to be worth listening to.

    I suspect (reservedly) that this category

    Maybe I’m too caught up in the search paradigm though.

    #2, the Cambrian explosion seems like a good prediction. Almost assured. What do you think the implications are?

    The one I thought was really interesting was prediction #3, the melting of the website. The reason is that websites are an emergent phenomenon. No one ever told them to be. They were never meant to be the basic unit of the web. Apparently they were necessary for building a usable web metaphor. What has already melted away is the web page, which was designed to be a basic unit of the web.

  3. Venkat,

    After mentioning Seth Godin I decided to visit his site & found an example of something I considered mentioning above. An interaction between your prediction 2 & 3.

    Seth has an app for reading his site. For a few years pundits have been expecting web applications to become more installable like until all desktop apps live online. The iphone seems to have upset this trend by making installable apps more website like as more websites migrate to the iphone. The browser has reverted to general but basic use while those more involved or popular sites are becoming apps. You probably have a google, facebook, youtube, maps & sethgodin app.

  4. For #5, social filtering for monetizable content, I didn’t mean things like doctor/plumber listings, but information of intrinsic value (like a news item). That said, the trend may apply weakly to your examples as well. The TC50 winner, Redbeacon, is a sign that things are headed that way. Finding people through LinkedIn is another example.

    If you think about it, search IS social filtering by proxy. When your pagerank goes up because someone else links to it, it is that *person* recommending you via 2 intermediary pages. Either or both pages can be disintermediated, right?

    Cambrian explosion implications… one I am betting on is that Apple’s approach will not scale. Closing off architectures strongly in the service of UX design is a bad tradeoff in the long run, since it dampens the diversity of the explosion. Microsoft made one smart bet by investing in a (research) robotics operating system. At some point the proliferation of devices will be too much to keep up with, and the game will go to vendors who offer open abstraction systems. Android and Chrome are examples within subsets of devices, but we probably need even more generic models that can be customized for everything from refrigerators to TiVos…

    • Venkat,

      Going slightly sidebar, do you think that too much gets extrapolated from the MS/IBM/Apple platform kerfuffle of the last generation. Maybe in subsequent rounds owning platforms is no longer a cash cow. Maybe the dynamics of the handheld market (or the smartTV or iLaundry markets) makes the equivalent of word processor machines a stable norm.

      I mean, both approaches seem to have innovation advantages that the other can’t match.

      Also, we really have very few data points. Was Linux for desktop destined to fail because its flavour of decentralised open source is bad for making desktop operating systems or was that just a fluke?

      Another wild card is the fact that these approaches seem to be hard coded into the companies themselves. Google will just not have considered making ChromeOS a closed box (even though maybe that makes sense) & Apple will not have considered making an open source iPhone OS or installable on different devices. I think this interferes with the Darwinism that might cause a superior approach to ultimately dominate.

      While I do the same thing myself, it seems a little too “low level” a place to make hard rules. What do you think?

  5. Trying to make “Social filtering will start to displace search as the primary driver of monetizable content” happen. It’s a fun problem.