Strong opinions, weakly held

Reviewing 2007 predictions

Now that it’s 2008, let’s see how I did in my predictions for 2007:

Web applications will continue to become more like desktop applications. This turned out to be trivially true. JavaScript libraries continued to improve, and people added more and more desktop-like features to their Web apps, but I don’t think this was a particularly interesting year for innovation in Web interfaces. Comet looks intriguing, but this was more a year in which the industry consolidated its gains rather than really pushing the ball forward. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Google Gears and its equivalents in 2008.

Spam fighters will gain ground against spammers. The overall volume of spam continues to go up. (Weblog comment spam as well.) Gmail’s spam filters are continuing to perform well, but the Bayesian filter my wife uses seems to be losing ground. I’d love to get some outside input on how I did with this prediction.

People will continue to increase their reliance on Google, but more of them will come to resent that reliance as well. This turned out to be a good prediction, I think. People are more scared of Google than they ever were, and Google keeps announcing new products that make competitors of other sites on the Web. Here’s what Tim O’Reilly said about Google last week:

Everyone applauds when Google goes after Microsoft’s Office monopoly, seeing it simply as “turnabout’s fair play,” (and a distant underdog to boot), but when they start to go after web non-profits like Wikipedia, you see where the ineluctible logic leads. As Google’s growth slows, as inevitably it will, it will need to consume more and more of the web ecosystem, trading against its former suppliers, rather than distributing attention to them.

Web advertising will become even more obnoxious. I think it’s about as obnoxious as it ever was, but that it has not grown significantly more obnoxious.

I’d hope to see more progress in decentralized communication among weblogs, and less progress toward people moving into centralized weblog services. No progress on this front that I perceived.

I’d also like to see more progress on the copyright and DRM front. The DRM companies are still fighting tooth and nail, but with the Warner Music announcement that they’ll be selling music through the Amazon.com MP3 store, three of four major record labels are now selling music online without DRM. That’s progress.

Ultimately, it feels like most of the interesting things that happened in 2007 were completely outside the scope of my predictions.

Soon, my predictions for 2008.


  1. Rafe,

    I would be interested in learning what you considered the most interesting things in 2007.

  2. In my opinion, advertising on the web is much less obnoxious now than it has been in the past, but maybe I just have moved towards using less obnoxious sites with time. I don’t use pop-up blocker and still hardly ever receive pop-ups. It’s also been interesting to see how various TV channels have integrated ads into their online videos in ways where I believe the ads are much more intriguing and less annoying than their broadcast counterparts.

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