End of Year Reviews Abound… But What Does 2008 Hold?

Over the past several days, I have seen more and more websites posting their 2007 reviews on tech news and startups. No doubt 2007 has brought a lot of turmoil to the tech world. My most viewed reviews comes from TechCrunch where they showcase their most popular headlines of 2007.

So, how will 2008 go? I think there will be two topics that will prevail amongst any other topics out there: mobile development and social development.

2007 was a very big year for mobile development with the release of the Apple iPhone. Google is in development of a new open-source mobile platform that will no doubt extend their reach further into the mobile arena (I think allowing them to then enable search marketing to those using the platform). New startups are beginning to focus their attention, also, to the mobile arena, developing their platforms to function with smaller devices. Facebook has already created an interface specific to the iPhone. Many services like Jaiku and Twitter also allow you to make mini posts (sort of like status updates) from your mobile devices. And technology is increasingly allowing users to do more with their smaller devices.

Social development has been a very big topic in 2007 with the news centering around Facebook and their controversial new ad-network. Facebook made the announcement in 2007 that they will allow targeted advertising. I had a chance to try out this targeted platform and while it didn’t do much for me, it was a breath of fresh air for online advertisers. (Honestly, though, it is a big leap forward. With the amount of social data that Facebook manages it seems fitting for them to create an ad network that would harness the information they store). Facebook also released an interesting ad network called Beacon. The release of Beacon, although controversial for it’s lack of opt-out support, allowed external websites to post in a users updates feed when they performed a particular task on their website. For instance, Blockbuster might post in my update feed that I added “24 – Season 6” to my movies queue. The power of the service allows for the creative marketing of actions that occur outside of social networks. While there was some initial backlash on the service from the consumer standpoint, the idea is novel and powerful. I expect this to be a big player in ’08.

Google has also been a big news maker in the social arena. Earlier this year, they released the OpenSocial platform creating a new medium with which to aggregate social network applications across a variety of various social networks. The launch of the service inclued an impressive number of social networks participating with the API including hi5, Ning, orkut, and LinkedIn. A few days later, MySpace made the announcement that they will participate bringing pressure to the table for Facebook which uses it’s own fbml programming language to create applications for it’s users. The software was unimpressive at first being hacked withing 45 minutes. Improvements have been made with the software with their 0.6 release. This software is very much still in beta and will be a very big power-player in 2008.

Ning has also been a big playing the social arena in 2007. They reached a milestone by adding their 100,000th social network and have just recently announced that an major update to their service will make social networks more centric based allowing for news and information to be displayed from individual social networks rather than all social network news to be generated from the entire community at large. There is big popularity having the ability to create your own social network and as the web grows into more a platform, this ability will be key to generating impressive numbers of social data for small to medium businesses.

All this is in addition to the continued growth of social mediums like Youtube will make 2008 a very big year for social marketing.