Google had an exciting year in 2006 -- stealing headlines with almost everything they did, even if the news wasn't particularly exciting. Many of the more important things that happened are summarized by Google Operating System in an article titled "Google 2006 in 12 Pictures".
Will the excitement carry forward in 2007? Like most of you, I don't know, but I have a few predictions about what we can expect to happen in the coming year.
We will see fewer, but more exciting product releases than we saw this year. (75% chance)
This was hinted at by Marissa Mayer in an interview with TIME:
"Users aren't going to remember our 50-plus products. They'll remember three to five. We need more features and fewer products,"
GDrive will finally be launched (80% chance)
Many of the newer Google products already rely on web-based storage. The only thing that's missing is a desktop client to view those files in a consolidated fashion. Some of these products include Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Picasa Web Albums, Google Video, etc. They even hired Jeremy Allison (Lead Samba developer) away from Novell this past week. What is Samba? Here is the official answer from their website.
"Samba is software that can be run on a platform other than Microsoft Windows, for example, UNIX, Linux, IBM System 390, OpenVMS, and other operating systems. Samba uses the TCP/IP protocol that is installed on the host server. When correctly configured, it allows that host to interact with a Microsoft Windows client or server as if it is a Windows file and print server."
Google TV will be launched (40% chance)
Eric Schmidt went on record stating they are definitely interested in television -- giving me the impression it's already in the works. There was even a paper written by some Googlers explaining a new system that eavesdrops through your computer microphone to grab an audio fingerprint of ambient noise. This information can be used to accurately identify what is being watched on television to show relevant advertisements or even hook you up with others watching the same thing.
Google is also reportedly in talks with Apple regarding their iTV product to be launched early in 2007 -- which curiously has yet to report any sort of television capability.
Google will launch enterprise version of Google Apps for Your Domain (100% chance)
Google Apps for your Enterprise will offer organizations the peace of mind that comes with 24x7 phone technical support -- something that is currently not available for Google Apps for your Domain. Not only will it offer support, but APIs will be made available to manage user accounts and data -- giving enterprises the ability to hook themselves into the product at any level they desire.
Google/NASA partnership starts to bear fruit. (80% chance)
Google Earth will have a wealth of new information available, including a similar interface for Mars and the moon. It will also provide real-time temperature and climate information for any point on the planet.
Google releases their "Medical Scrapbook" (75% chance)
This product is also referred to as the "Health URL" by Adam Bosworth, engineering manager for "Google Health", in a speech he made recently. He is currently leading a team looking to standardize how the world uses personal health records.
Not only has Adam talked about this publicly, but Tony Ruscoe actually found references to this quite a long time ago -- leading me to believe the product is further along than we think.
Google Checkout goes completely international (80% chance)
In order for Google Checkout to truely compete with PayPal, the product will need to begin accepting merchants from countries other than the United States. Google Checkout has already started accepting payment from all buyers (regardless of their location), however many stores do not ship internationally.
Make your predictions in the comments!