The Biggest Web Trend of 2007 Will Be...

Last week we published a list of web technology predictions for 2007, along with a poll asking which trend you think will be *the* biggest of 2007. Social networks dominated the Web scene in 2006, so what will be the equivalent in 2007?

We've had 1,235 votes so far (but we'll leave the poll open until 31 December). Here, in order of popularity, are the results at this stage:

1. Online Video / Internet TV 27% (337 votes)

2. Continued rise of browser-based apps (Ajax, Google, etc) 22% (275 votes)

3. Mobile Web 15% (185 votes)

4. RSS and structured data 12% (153 votes)

5. Rich Internet Apps (Apollo, WPF, etc) 9% (116 votes)

6. Web Office / Enterprise web apps 6% (77 votes)

7. Semantic Web 6% (75 votes)

8. Other (please comment) 1% (17 votes)

Given the impact YouTube had on 2006, it is not that surprising that Online Video / Internet TV is considered most likely to be the biggest Web trend of 2007. Google of course has prime position in this space now, after snapping up YouTube near the end of 2006. Perhaps of most interest is what the big media, TV and movie companies do next year - so far it's been a series of tentative deals between YouTube and big media, but 2007 may be the year that big media build (or buy) their own online video solutions. Watch this space...

I was a little surprised that browser-based apps got 22% of the vote, compared to just 9% for RIA. This may reflect the fact that Read/WriteWeb has historically been a proponent of browser-based apps. But during 2006 we started to cover the RIA terrain more - and you can expect that coverage to continue in 2007. Maybe it's not a black and white thing, but both browser-based and RIA apps will continue to evolve at the speed of light next year. Indeed they will probably begin to hybridize, as the world of multiple Internet-connected devices continues apace.

Mobile Web has been predicted for many years - and R/WW readers don't seem overly optimistic about 2007 being the year. 2008 anyone?

Some good support for RSS and structured data doing well in '07, while Web Office and Semantic Web drew some votes. I expected more enthusiasm for Semantic Web, but perhaps it's still too amorphous a concept for most people at this point.

As for my pick for biggest Web trend in 2007, I agree with the majority that next year will be remembered mostly for Online Video. I'm expecting fireworks from big Internet companies (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo), big media (News Corp, the US tv networks, Hollywood, etc), as well as small brave startups like Brightcove and Gotuit.

For a slightly left field trend, in 2007 I'm hoping for improvements in the technology behind browser-based apps. Ajax is still too unreliable and prone to downtime or slow browsing - and I'm not just saying that because I'm stuck on dial-up during the holiday period (although it has rendered Gmail non-functional for me!). I just think that Ajax needs a '2.0' of its own, to make it more competitive with the impressive range of RIA technologies we're seeing now (Adobe's Apollo, Microsoft's WPF, OpenLaszlo). Small companies like Morfik are working on enhanced browser-based functionality, so R/WW will begin to investigate that more in the new year - suggestions on other companies doing things to improve Ajax, are most welcome in the comments.

Happy New Year everyone - R/WW has been lightly posting this week, but we'll be back into it after the new year celebrations.

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