Technology is our friend: My personal 2010 roundup: The top 10 developments
Back To Normal

December 16, 2010

My personal 2010 roundup: The top 10 developments

Year-end, time for rankings, forecasts and summaries. Here is my personal 2010 roundup with the most significant developments of this past year. Please note that the order of appearance is rather accidental, just writing it down while thinking.

      Facebook dominance continues          

In 2009, I heard many doubtful voices with regards to Facebook in talks with corporations. “We lived well without MySpace, we will not need Facebook”, “Let’s see if it works here in Germany, too...” and such – these times are over. Yes, there is VKontakte in Russia, yes, there is Orkut in Brazil, but Hives, Tuenti and all these other local "incumbent" social networks failed to stand up to Facebook in Europe. In my eyes, besides many other reasons, Facebook’s news feed that makes bits of content portable, curated by friends and not by editors, is one still underestimated reason for this.

       Facebook’s plan to take over the web works                  

250 million users have engaged with Facebook in 2010 – outside Facebook's domain. This is impressive because it is close to half of all their users. They shared, clicked the like button or connected through Facebook’s ID product (and yes, you are cordially invited to click the "like" button on the top right of this page, too). Personally I think that Facebook’s strategic angle on this is adding “data portability” to content portability of the news feed. With Facebook Connect, I can virtually bring my friends to another site and make it - all of a sudden - a social experience. As Zuckerberg says: In future, all websites will be built around people. And Facebook will have a hand in that. To learn more about their strategy, watch this great talk with MZ.

       Location had its breakthrough in 2010                  

Not only Foursquare and Gowalla, Qype and Google Places, but also Facebook Places gave location its great breakthrough in 2010. Even if the usage stats are still quite low (Foursquare as the leader has just 5 million users, worldwide), nearly every web-savvy user at least knows what it is and has heard about location-based services that are accessible over smartphones. There’s a lot to come, but the foundation was layed in 2010. Both in awareness for the services as well as in amount of GPS-connected devices in consumer hands.

      Daily deals conquer the web                   
Insane numbers here. Groupon turning down a 6 billion dollar offer and everyone fully understands. Communication has become a lot faster during the past 2 or 3 years. A 2010 Youtube video only needs nearly half the time to reach 50% of its views compared to – 2008. That’s massive. And one explanation why Groupon and other services are so successful with their daily rhythm of offers.
Another one is, of course, location. And a third one, timeless and as old as the history of mankind: people love bargain deals. 

      Video goes through the roof                  

Not only the FIFA World Cup in summer with a three-digit number of million hours of live video streaming in the US and Europe alone made it clear that internet video made a major step in 2010. Just check out the Netflix stock in comparison to TimeWarner to see how IP-transported video is adopted by consumers.

And we are already used to an ever-growing Youtube with now 35 hours of content uploaded every minute, but this year, the advertising market also catched up. You see more pre-roll advertising than ever before, and compared to display ads, the prices and engagement figures are pretty high. Ad-based sites have a significantly higher margin with video ads compared to display, so we can expect this area to further grow in 2011. With some serious implications for classic television.

       iTelevision has just started                   
Every year, we expect television to be conquered and disrupted by the internet. In 2011 this might actually be the case. Even though Apple’s and Google’s attempts to tackle this seem a little bit … excuse my French… half-assed and only the startups like Roku or Boxee seem to be serious, there was a lot of movement in 2010 and maybe internet-connected TV will really take off in 2011.

If we see better remote controls than this astronaut device from Sony/Google TV, that is.

      The year of the iPad, the year of Android                         

No contradiction in this. Apple saw it coming that Android OS, able to be integrated on any device any manufacturer wants to, in cars, fridges, television sets etc., would be taking over the lead in activated devices in 2011 (of course based on smartphones).
But Apple’s answer to grow iOS users and devices was pretty impressive.

I cannot remember any new device to be adopted so fast with consumers AND industry at the same time. iPad developers willing to work for publishers (and not doing their own thing) are sought after like trillionaire bachelors. The trend will continue in 2011: Apple will grow their base with new devices and new versions of existing devices in the high-end area, but Android will spread on so many other devices, covering every price range and every taste that it will clearly take over the quantitative lead. Keen to see how WP7 and the (in my eyes doomed) overhaul of Nokia’s OS will hold up in that environment.

      Angry Birds                  

Yeah. There is serious money in apps, even if they are ad-based. I doubt that they would have made half the money if the game was published on a website and placing some banners around it: I have killtime at the airport, in a cab, at the doctor’s office – but not at my desk. 50 million downloads in less than 12 months are insane and clearly mark a breakthrough for mass success of multi-platform apps. Just for fun:

      Cloudy weather                  

Much anticipated last year, but the full breakthrough for the cloud as such did not come in 2010. Let’s see if Chrome OS will change something in that. For now, we have a lot of web storage, the awesome Dropbox app, still download our imap-Mails to our local machines, keep getting confused over Google Apps, Chrome Apps, Android Apps, software, widgets and tools and wait for other things to come.

      Wikileaks, Schmikileaks                  

No 2010 roundup without Wikileaks. Everyone has his own opinion on that, but we also learned a lot during this episode:

  • People will defend the web against censorship. By all means.
  • Politicians still don’t get the web. All around the world.
  • The real issues are independent from Assange and his organization and will continue to be discussed in 2011: how transparent do governments have to be? … and …
  • If you want to keep a secret, don’t digitalize it.