Tis the season for everyone to chime in with their predictions for the upcoming year -- and here are mine. The past year was a good one for Google, their stock gained $200 per share, several new products/services/features were launched, their market share rose to nearly 60%, they have managed to keep their advertising earnings impressive, and have invested significant time and money into the mobile space.
The number of services launched this year though was a lot lower than last -- and that was expected. It seems last years "features, not products" idea wasn't just talk. Some of the important "features" that were added this year include:
- Google Apps got several new features for enterprise users -- including Postini, a company Google acquired.
- Google Personalized Homepage got "themes"
- "Universal Search" for Google Search lets users use a single search box to find anything from news to videos
- Street View on Google Maps
- Sky View in Google Earth
This year will continue along the same trajectory. Features will be of more importance than actual products, with the exception of a few. More importantly, this will be the year of the API -- it started in 2007, but in 2008 things like the Open Social API and the Android API will become very popular, and there will be more.
Android will become the development platform of choice for mobile developers The Android contest will produce some pretty awesome applications, and cell phones will start shipping with the operating system mid-2008. We will start seeing books everywhere about "Android Development" -- this will be in response to the "closed" nature of developers competing for cash, and the cash prize itself.
Google Knol will be launched, and immediately be competition for Wikipedia in the SERPS This new product is set to take on Wikipedia -- I am guessing it will be launched sometime after the official launch of Wikia, the over-hyped "Google Killer". Google Knol is a service that will let subject experts create articles, and get paid for them if they are popular.
We will learn more about Google TV They are already experimenting with TV ads, but I think there will be some sort of product release coming in 2008.
GDrive may not be launched, but the "shared storage" system will be expanded I've been waiting for this forever it seems, and I'm beginning to think it will never show up. Even if there isn't a dedicated application on the horizon, Google services have been starting to integrate "shared storage" -- the stuff you can buy via subscription from Google -- and it you will see more Google services using it as its back-end storage system.
Acquisitions & Partnerships will slow, but some important ones will still happen It seems that buying companies, or at least the people working at them, is what Google likes to do best. Google will continue picking up small companies, and maybe we will even see another massive billion dollar acquisition like YouTube or DoubleClick this year. Partnerships are important for Google too though. I think we will see a stronger partnership between Apple and Google this year -- possibly in the wireless world. Rumor has it that Google and Apple bid on the 700mhz spectrum together.
For more Google 2008 predictions, you should definitely check out Blogoscoped. Now it's your turn to chime in -- add your predictions to the comments below!