Friday, December 23, 2005

My 2006 predictions

I've seen several good posts ([1] [2] [3] [4]) already with predictions for 2006. I thought I'd throw my thoughts out there too.

My predictions for 2006:

After putting Google on a pedestal, the press will start knocking it down. A firestorm of bad press will undermine the pillars of hype that support Google's lofty stock price, but the negativity will not be justified by any noticeable weakness in Google's business.

Yahoo will double down on their bets in community and social networking, including buying at least two more startups working in the area. Results of their efforts will be mixed, popular among early adopters, but largely a dud for the mainstream.

Microsoft will launch an AdSense-like advertising product in the hopes of undermining Google's business, but the product will fail to attract a large network in 2006 due to relatively weak ad targeting and low clickthrough rates.

MSN Search will increase market share, but only modestly in 2006. Other search engines will not move noticeably. Searchers will continue to view Google as having the best search results, whether or not that perception is accurate.

Microsoft will abandon Windows Live.

Tagging documents (My Web 2.0,, tag search of documents) will fail to attract mainstream interest. Tagging will continue to be popular for photos, videos, and other items with poor metadata.

Flickr, Technorati,, and other popular tagging sites will find themselves under assault by spammers. Like with splogs, efforts to battle the influx of crap will be only partially successful.

Wikipedia will be sabotaged by a spam robot coming over a botnet. The spam robot will makes millions of subtle, small changes to the articles, many of which go undetected for long periods of time. Unable to keep up, Wikipedia will be forced to shut off anonymous edits and place other controls on changes.

Yahoo and MSN finally will launch blog search. Google Blog Search will grab majority market share anyway. Technorati, Feedster, and other blog search pure play startups will struggle.

The massive power of Google's cluster will be demonstrated in a much more ambitious version of Google Q&A (currently a modest experiment with automated knowledge extraction of answers from the Web). It will be well received. The launch will send the other search giants, who have been favoring simpler canned shortcuts instead, into a panic.

Interest in attention and personalization of information will grow as searchers become increasingly desperate for an easy way to surface the good stuff from all the crap out there. We'll see many new startups offering personalization products, most of which will be peddling junk. The hype will attract VCs. They will follow each other on in, bleating joyfully as they shower investment capital indiscriminately on good and bad alike.

Google will add an experiment with personalized news to Google News and expand on their personalized search. MSN and Yahoo will experiment with personalization and recommendations in news, search, and shopping. All three will experiment with highly targeted advertising using your search and browsing clickstream.

The hype about mashups and APIs will fade as more and more developers are frustrated by crippled APIs, lack of service quality guarantees, and lack of bargaining power in negotiations for commercial use of the APIs.

As their own business slows, eBay will make other large acquisitions in an effort to buy growth.

Update: Some good discussion in the comments on this post, especially on the Windows Live prediction.


Anonymous said...


I'm particularly interested in your prediction that "Interest in attention and personalization of information will grow as searchers become increasingly desperate for an easy way to surface the good stuff from all the crap out there." Along with a number of other companies, we are working on creating a solution with this in mind.

I have often felt that managing information on a page level was inefficient. Whether it is to save, share or search for things online, there is way too much clutter, guess work and redundancy involved when trying to manage it all on a page level.

I hope that 2006 will be a year when specific content/information will start to become as easy to manage as entire pages.

Anonymous said...

> Microsoft will abandon Windows Live.

I don't understand what that prediction is supposed to win. Microsoft is going to shut down its web mail, IM, blogging, search engine and other online offerings?

Yeah, right...

Is Microsoft going to backpedal on branding online offerings "Windows Live" instead of "MSN"? I dunno, but I doubt it would back pedal so radically within the first year of announcing the initiative.

-- Dare Obasanjo

Anonymous said...

> Microsoft will abandon Windows Live.

Hahahaha! Thats one of the funniest and most ridiculous predictions I've heard so far, in this year's tech predictions.

Did you even for a minute THINK before typing that one Greg? Mail, Messenger, Search, Online mapping, blogging and much much more? You think Microsoft will shut all of that down even if it lags seriously behind google? I doubt it seriously.

Sell its entire division of online services, or split it off into another company? Now that is something that would probably be a very smart move for them to do. But they wont even do that. Windows Live is here to stay.

Greg Linden said...

Hi, Dare and Danish. To my surprised, that prediction on Windows Live has gotten mentioned by several others and attracted a fair amount of attention. I obviously should have elaborated more on it. I apologize for that.

What I meant was that would be abandoned. I think there's is too much confusion between and The MSN brand is too valuable to be diluted with an expensive effort to build up a new Windows Live brand.

When I say abandoned, I just mean that there will be a political battle inside of Microsoft and that will lose its backing. It will continue to exist, but will be deemphasized to the point of being irrelevant.

I didn't mean Microsoft would shut down their entire online effort. But Microsoft's online efforts can't be called both Windows Live and MSN.

Another way this could fall out is that MSN could become part of Windows Live. I think that is much less likely because of the power of the existing MSN brand.

I really do think this will happen in 2006. But, yes, it is a bold (probably more like foolhardy) prediction.

Again, sorry for the confusion. I should have known better than to do a one-liner on something so controversial.

Libran Lover said...

In the first comment above, b7j0c said: search will be the hardest hit - research in this area will drop off once firms realize that the ROI on a new algorithmic twist isn't worth it. this market will go into maintainence mode for a while.

This is wayy off the mark. There is a loong way to go before search goes into maintenance mode. Right now, search is still in its infancy... alright, may be a toddler! But it sure has a lot of growing up to do!

Cibbuano said...

Excellent predictions, actually.

Especially about the Google vs. Microsoft thing, adn Wikipedia. I love using Wikipedia, but for it to work, we all need to be good people. They need to figure a way to deliver electric shocks to vandals.