John Battelle's Searchblog which focusses on the interesction of search, media, technology, and more makes his predictions in the web world for the year 2005. Excerpts with edits and my comments added.
1. We will have a goat rodeo of sorts in the blogging/micropublishing/RSS world as commercial interests push into what many consider a "pure medium." I've seen this movie before, and it ends OK. But it's important that the debate be full throated, and so far it looks to be shaping up that way. 2005 may be a more fractious year in the blogosphere as we evolve through this process.
2. we'll in fact be making huge strides in understanding the path forward, it just won't seem like it. By the end of the year, the world will begin to realize that "blogs" are in fact an extraordinarily heterogeneous ecosystem comprised of scores, if not hundreds, of different "types" of sites.
3. There will be two to five major new sites that emerge from "nowhere" to become major cultural influencers along the lines of the political bloggers of 2004. One of them will be sold to a major publisher/aggregator for what seems like a large sum of money, driving the abovementioned #2 and #1.
4. Meanwhile, the long tail will become the talk of the "old line" media world. To capture some of that value, we'll see a slew of deals and new publishing projects from the established brands that seek to capture the idea of community journalism, affiliate commerce sales, and collaborative content creation.
5. Google will do something major with Blogger. I really have no idea what, but it's overdue. Six Apart will grow quickly but face a crisis in its implementation as its core users demand more features that are "unbloglike" like customer databases and robust publishing support tools. Six Apart may get sold.
6. Ask will continue to consolidate traffic by buying smaller search sites.
7. Yahoo and Google will both test systems that combine local merchant inventory information with search, so that merchants can use search as a direct sales channel. By the end of the year, there will be no question that the search companies are in direct competition with the ecommerce companies.8. Microsoft will lose search share before they gain it back later in the year when the integration of MSN search starts to scale with new versions of Office and IE .
9. Firefox will near 15% of total browser share. Firefox faithful will wonder why it's not much much higher. But MSFT will release a very good upgrade of IE, see #8
10.A third party platform player with major economies of scale (ie eBay or Amazon) will release a search related innovation that blows everyone's mind
11.The China question will become a critical issue to the search community.
12.By the end of the year,there will be no question that search is a media business and that the major players in search are major players in the content business.
13.Something major will finally happen at Tivo. We all hope that it's a sale to Apple, but if it is a sale, it will more likely be to Comcast or DirecTv
14.Apple will be rumored to launch a video iPod, but it won't - it's still too early.. Google will introduce Video search at some point in 05, but it will stay in Labs
15.Mobile will finally be plugged into the web in a way that makes sense for the average user and a major mobile innovation - the kind that makes us all say - Jeez that was obvious - will occur. At the core of this innovation will be the concept of search.