Mobile shifts from quantity to quality
The evolution of websites went something like this: first it was unique just to have a website, then it was mandatory to have a website, and now it’s mandatory to have a good website. Mobile is following the same path, although in today’s digital world that evolution moves a lot faster. More and more companies are moving to mobile, although for many that first step comes at the user’s expense with clunky interfaces that are difficult to navigate, missing content and other roadblocks that prevent users from getting the information they need. Look for the next step in the growth process when these companies realize that it is not enough just to be in the mobile space but that those who provide the best user experience will succeed.
Prediction: By the end of 2012 addressing your mobile audience is a requirement to get by in the online space. And for those companies that are already mobile look for vast improvements in the user experience.
Google Plus reaches a tipping point
In July 2011 Google unveiled Google+, their latest attempt to join the social media space. Google+ has seen fantastic growth so far; Google confirmed 40 million members in October 2011 and analysts are currently predicting they will reach 400 million by the end of 2012. However there is a big difference between a new subscriber and an active user.
I just wonder how many others are like me; social networks already take up too much time, do I have time for another? In this space making a better product isn’t enough. I actually do like Google+ but my friends and family use facebook so that’s where I connect with them. To climb that hurdle Google has to have a better product AND a large user base. Hrm, if only they could find one…
Prediction: In 2012 one of two things will happen: Google ponies up and buys Google+ some friends (a partnership with Zynga or Twitter would be a good start) or like so many of their other experiments lets Google+ fizzle out. According to the coin I just flipped, Google+ is doomed.
Romance is in the air
2011 saw huge advances in the way we interact with technology, particularly through speech recognition. Apple’s virtual assistant SIRI has taken the mobile world by storm and Google’s existing speech recognition technology has just been boosted with the purchase of Alfred. We have almost reached that point where we don’t think twice about talking to a machine and having it understand us, which is kind of cool but a little scary.
Prediction: In the biggest digital celebrity news ever, Alfred and SIRI officially become an item after becoming self aware in the summer of 2012. (Prediction for 2013: the happy couple adopts Microsoft Kinect and then enslaves us all)