Over the past couple of weeks, Corante Network contributors have been prognosticating about what they think is in store for 2006. Below is my effort to synthesize some of the larger themes articulated by my colleagues:

    • Aggregation increasingly becomes the basis of getting information from the web“Aggregation increasingly becomes the basis of getting information from the web, whether it’s through Yahoo, legacy media, personal recommendation services, tag-based always-on search or whatever,” says Corante Network Media contributor Mark Hamilton.Aggregation will help deal with information overload at two levels. The first is the simple means that facilitates the aggregation – this includes greater adoption of technology such as feed aggregators. Jack Vinson notes that they “will continue to evolve their capabilities present information in useful ways.”The second and more important part is the technology that makes aggregation tools smarter by grouping related results together or filtering content based on reading habits. Robin Good refers to this idea as newsmastering – “the ability to filter, aggregate, monitor and tracks the information items you are interested in…” Findory is a good example and a leader in technology that is employing a handful of ‘newsmastering’ ideas. I wouldn’t be surprised if some serious interest was taken in it during 2006.

      Providing more value to aggregators will be structured blogging and microformats, writes Matt Hurst. Oliver Thylmann thinks structured blogging will loose the ‘blogging’ term and that it will create “open data markets where added value is generated through the work done with that content, not the content itself.”

    • Buzz words will begin to really impact businessThe business value of “buzz words” will become clear. Jack Vinson believes, “More non-tech companies will talk publicly about using blogs, wikis and related tools for internal purposes.”Oliver Thylmann thinks that buzz words like blogs will “loose the hype” and simply become “part of the marketing/media mix”. In other words, people will begin to focus on the transparent, niche based conversation model of blogging as opposed to the strange word.
    • Video on the web will finally be realizedPowered by the continued penetration of broadband (wired and wireless alike), video on the web will become “very popular”, according to Robin Good. He notes, “2006 should see the launch of Brightcove and of some other major new brands in this space.”Mark Hamilton also observes that we’ve seen “[v]ideo everywhere. We’ve seen it on iPods, on web sites, on newspaper web sites, on blogs, delivered by RSS…The big networks are on board.”
    • Web properties will continue to be landscapedMatt Hurst believes one of the leading web-based feed aggregators – Bloglines – will “disappear” due to Ask’s “zero interest in nurturing this property.”In a similar idea of not nurturing technology, Hurst says GYM’s “clear lack of strategy” exemplified in their sub-par (or non-existent) blog search offerings and the rising tides of blogs will propel one of these players to purchase a major blog search property.
    • Other Notable Ideas» Jack Vinson: “The next Pew Internet & American Life survey will discover that 25% of internet users say they use aggregators (as of early 2005, this was 5%).”» Robin Good: “Personal Search – One metric fits all doesn’t really serve our purpose anymore, while allowing individual users to skew and adjust search variables as well as affecting with their behavior such general statistics can increase our search abilities and provide also co-intelligent solutions and metrics that search engines may leverage for their own results.”» Oliver Thylmann: “The Google Bubble will Burst – Google is immensely overvalued and that valuation will need to come down.”


But of course, if you aren’t sold by these ideas, you can use fellow contributor Matt McAlister’s automatic Internet industry prediction generator. Below follows one of its creations (and strangely enough, it makes one of my thoughts above look quite silly):

1. A Palo Alto startup is going to open our eyes to some new ways that AJAX can influence culture. Business 2.0 will pick up on this and run several cover stories on the founders.2. Larry Page will be in the spotlight for his decision to support XHTML. This will upset Dave Winer, and the blogosphere will react closely. The noise will quiet before the end of the year and it will all be forgotten soon after the shock.

3. Amazon will see their stock skyrocket after their advertising business starts taking off. We’ve seen it coming for a while now, but 2006 will be the year it really kicks into gear.

4. Either Google or Yahoo! will seek to expand their premium services business by acquiring Findory. BlinkList will be overlooked in the process, and they will see a management shakeout later in the year.

5. One of the big leaders in the industry will wake up to the threat of the Internet and the Web 2.0 trends. After months of speculation, they will make a key acquisition that will shake up the landscape for years to come.

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