Technology Directions There are a lot of predictions about technology – especially this time of year. After reading a number of these prediction lists and thinking about them, here’s what I think we’ll see this year.

Google’s Android (mobile phone software) will get a lot of hype and developers will flock to it – generating true competition for Apple and the iPhone.

Apple gets a lot of flack because of the stringent rules and illogical way apps get approved. It’s set up that way so Apple can ensure a good experience for iPhone (and Touch) users. The only problem: Apple’s staff is drowning in the flood of new app requests and updates from developers. There are over 100,000 apps in the App Store.

Google correctly recognizes the future of the Net is a mobile one. They built Android and are now going to sell their own mobile phone. Instead of an approval process for the apps, people can build and issue their own apps – even outside the official Android marketplace.

Freeing up the market and development process will create hundreds of thousands of apps – and like many in the iTunes App Store they will be terrible. But many will not be terrible. They are freeing the market and great apps will be developed. The phrase, “There’s an app for that” will apply to phones outside the iPhone. 2010 will be the rise of Android.

Social Media integration will become a part of all application development.

We’ve witnessed the rise of social media with an incredible amount of media coverage. You may not have noticed it, but all kinds of web sites now use Facebook or Twitter logins to allow people to share their experiences of the site.

Social Media software plug-ins exist for many common programs: Outlook and web browsers being chief amongst them. You can see this in the excellent plug-in from Xobni – which allows you to see someone’s LinkedIn or Facebook profile when you click on an e-mail from him/her. This trend will continue and the original software manufacturers, like Microsoft, will begin including them in their development process.

Facebook’s Ad Management System Improves

OK – not much of a prediction here – Facebook does a good job, but it could be a lot better!

They should offer shared access to ads, better reporting from the demo and profile data, and alerts if an ad stops running.

Wireless Data Devices Prep for Gigabit Speeds

Without being too techy, the 802.11n standard for wireless was ratified recently. This means that device manufacturers will roll out more devices on this standard and begin to work towards improving the speed.

Gigabit speeds are next. Apple and other computer makers are putting gigabit network “cards” in their computers already. We would really benefit from wireless devices on gigabit speeds.

The benefits to us?

  • Streaming HD movies from any location in the house (or across the Net if your home/office bandwidth is that high!). 
  • Video conferencing from the home – in resolutions that are great.
  • Better online gaming
  • Sharing files across a network requires much less time
Turn by Turn Navigation on Mobile Phones Renders GPS Companies Like Garmin and Tom Tom into Software Companies or Bankrupt

When Google released turn by turn directions on their Android phone, the GPS device makers must have cringed. In a year, there will be no reason to buy a dedicated GPS device.

The GPS device makers have caught on. As of today, January 2, 2010, Tom Tom has the 11th highest grossing (earning) app in the iTunes App Store. Expect more of this in the future or for them to yield to Google Maps…

Web Sites and Site Management Benefit from HTML 5

HTML enters its fifth generation and allows us to begin managing media better, enables offline storage, and continues blurring the line between desktop software and web sites.

Firefox and Chrome already support it. As developers build more features in HTML 5, sites will become easier to manage and use. One of the features I’m looking forward to the most: drag and drop.

Case law will be created from lawsuits related to social media

I’m no attorney, but I do try to stay breast of the law surrounding the business I’m in. When we start working with a client, we’re inevitably asked about refining the organization’s computer and internet usage policy to address social media.

There’s a problem with social media, the law, and human nature. Sites like Facebook allow one to publish very personal information and have it connected to the organization employing the person. When John Doe goes out and drinks too many beers, takes pictures, and then posts them online he links that behavior to his employer. How far can the employer take the mandate to “represent the company properly at all times”? 2010 will be the year we find out.

Three little boys in my house turn one year older

Yes, this is guaranteed to happen….