The 13th year of the third millennium AD is nearly upon us. Barring any Mayan apocalypse, it will be rung in as every year for the past hundred and eight, with a lighted disco ball dropping over Times Square and fireworks around the world.
The outlook for the tech and Web industries is much murkier. Who will emerge with a surprise hit? Who will stumble and fall? Will the Ouya actually be released?
Seriously, though, 2013 is poised to be an unusually active year, especially in mobile, with RIM BlackBerry 10 and Mozilla Firefox OS due out, and flagship smartphones from Amazon and Microsoft looking increasingly likely. For once Apple might not be the most exciting company*.
Here are some of my (completely speculative) predictions:
1. Microsoft launches Skype Video, a video-sharing website/social network to compete with YouTube and Google Hangouts under the Skype brand.
2. Google launches Audio Search for the Web, allowing users to record and upload or simply input live their own hummed or whistled recollections of songs and other types of audio, which Google will match to other similar audio clips via waveforms. Already Google in late 2012 has launched a song matching component for Google Now. Google is not just going to cede the space to SoundCloud. But maybe they'll team up. Maybe.
3. Google launches Image Alerts, a visual version of the feature often used by journalists, which instead of alerting users via email to every significant new mention of a specific string of text, now allows users to stay updated every time a new image similar to the one they upload or flag is published. Part of an expansion of Google Image Search (or Search By Image, if you prefer).
4. Facebook launches its own To-Do List/Tasks Management feature. Obvious move increasing data input to Facebook and giving people more ways to share their lives with their Friends.
5. Twitter launches Interactions pages, its version of Facebook's Friendship pages, allowing users to see all of their interactions with another user. Hey, a guy can dream.
6. The first Google Glass cat photos hit the Web (shortly after Google ships the first Google Glass Explorer Editions out to devs). Everyone immediately stops hating on Google Glass and understands its value.