imageEveryone and their mother are throwing out their predictions for 2009 nowadays, it’s a new fad. It’s like you’re not cool anymore if you don’t have twitter, a Mac, and a set of random predictions for the next 12 joyous months.

So I decided to throw in a few ideas of my own to be part of the cool crowd again (how much cooler can I be already, you might think, and I wouldn’t blame you).

 

Disclaimer (read it, tough guy)

What this post is:

  • about the future of technology and the Internet, 2009 and beyond.
  • my ideas on what is going to happen or should happen. If they happen to match someone else’s ideas – it doesn’t mean I ripped them off, it just means we share the same opinions and they’re more likely to come true.
  • awesome.

What this post is not:

  • predictions I pulled out of my ass, like “the market will bounce in August 2009” because some random douche said so.
  • a collection of stolen ideas. I have reserved a separate post for that purpose.
  • a raptor on hoverboard.

 

Things That Need To Happen

1. Socially Editable Maps

imageWith the advent of the GPS technology in the last couple of years and GPS prices falling (my originally $800 Garmin Nuvi 660 now costs about $200), the biggest frustration I have now is the accuracy of information. In the world of Google Maps and Wikipedia, why is it that I have to wait a whole year for map updates that are obsolete by the time they come out? The Bay Bridge repairs change the roads on an almost monthly basis, for example.

I want to know about road changes as soon as they occur.

The next big thing will be a company, either existing, like Google, or a startup, that will introduce the social aspect into the mapping technology. It will do for maps and GPS what Wikipedia did for text, using the same approach. The details are of course to be worked out.

After this concept becomes successful, GPS companies, will need to support such updates over the air, with a push of a button. This ties in closely with prediction #2 and #4.

 

2. Open Source GPS Goes Mainstream

imageGoogle, the father of Android, needs to get behind this one as well. In fact, an open source GPS device would really be a subset of Android’s functionality, in a dedicated device, so it shouldn’t be that hard. In the far future, it will be built into automobile dashboards but I don’t foresee that happening in the near future.

Combined with prediction #1, this will be a killer device. I really believe that free, open source software is the wave of the future, the natural direction of where software development is heading. Look at Linux in the past few years. Look at Android now. Release one and I’m be #1 in line for one. Those who know me IRL know that I can’t go anywhere without a GPS anymore. I once forgot a GPS at home and ended up in Chili.

 

3. Photo and Video Cameras Will Go Wireless, Anywhere You Go

imagePhoto and video cameras will be able to post pictures and videos to your home computer, sites like Flickr and YouTube, or email themselves directly to your friends… as soon as you record them, over cellular and Wifi networks.

Cell phones with cameras? Think cameras with cell phones. Some Wifi enabled cameras already came out, like this Canon SD430 (DP review here), and this freshly announced at CES 2009 Sony G3, and now it’s time to go cellular.

The next prediction is a generalization of this concept.

 

4. Wireless Connectivity Everywhere, In Every Device, Anywhere You Go

imageCell phone carriers will sign an increasing amount of deals with companies that want to build devices which connect to the Internet or private networks anywhere you go: GPSes, cameras, digital picture frames, cars, fridges.

The future is completely wireless. People are sick and tired of cords, clutter, and Rick Astley – I know that for a fact and digg says so.

 

5. Android Will Become Hugely Successful

imageAlright, I’m dead tired of all the posts about how Google’s Android is going to flop in 2009. I sincerely feel that people with that point of view have never experienced Google and open source, played with Android itself, or realized what exactly an open source phone OS means to developers, manufacturers, and consumers.

Android will become a platform of choice in the next couple of years as everyone starts to realize its limitless possibilities, the OS matures, thousands of new apps get written for it, and new Android phones flood the market. The only Android phone released so far, HTC’s G1, has already received praise from consumers, as well as my friends (even the females ones are excited. And yes, I have female friends).

Motorola announced a few months ago that its new phones are going to run Android and Windows Mobile exclusively. If a company with an R&D department as big as Moto’s stands behind something, you bet your ass they’ve done they’re homework. And what’s not to like? They can now:

  • take something that’s supported by the biggest Internet company in the world and the community, for free.
  • stop worrying about writing and maintaining their own OS – BAM, tons of money saved.
  • concentrate R&D on the hardware.
  • if need be, freely develop the features they want that Android doesn’t support yet and contribute them back. Everyone wins, except maybe Symbian developers that don’t have a job anymore.

Android is going to be a revolution. Apple and Android fighting it out will be the best thing that happened to us since the invention of sushi.

Update: An Android desktop phone was just released at CES. By end of 2009 we will be flooded with Androidness.

 

6. Open Source HDTVs

image The open source revolution will continue and start penetrating the HDTV market.

Personally, I think set top boxes are a waste of effort, time, and money but give me an HDTV that can run Youtube, Vimeo, LastFM, Pandora, and any other site through some sort of a plugin or browser, with a build in Media Center that connects to my computers and goes Wifi, that uses open source, upgradeable software (most likely Linux based), and I will buy it in a heartbeat.

Yes, what I’m saying is if my TV and HTPC did something dirty, I would totally dig their offspring, and so would millions of other people who don’t want/need/care/understand HTPC. TV in general holds a special place in my heart, and make it an even better experience, people.

Update: In fact, Vizio just made an announcement at CES 2009 that their TVs will have built-in support for Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon, Yahoo, and more.

 

7. Twitter’s Popularity Will Explode

imageNow for some social media. Twitter will continue dominating the microblogging arena, similar to YouTube dominating the video space. The site will grow extremely fast, much faster than now.

Competitors, like plurk, will probably secure certain small niches but nobody will be close to touch twitter.

Twitter’s Google PageRank (PR) today is 8 out of 10, which is considered very high.

It has the Alexa 3 month average rank of 599, 1 week average of 414, and 1 day average of 351.

I predict that by the end of 2009, Twitter will move into the top 50 Alexa.

Twitter’s significance in the business world for will be revolutionary. It will become second nature for every company to have one or many twitter accounts as means of connecting to consumers on a personal level. Think an opportunity for mini press releases, many of them, daily, not boring ones, the ones people are actually going to read.

Twitter is already being used by some companies, like Comcast (@comcastcares), for monitoring and responding to customer comments.

 

8. Social Media Jobs Will Be In Increasing Demand

image SEO, social marketing, and viral campaigns are very cost effective ways of brand promotion, and every company will want to jump on board.

As more and more of them realize this, they will start needing more people with marketing skills of John Chow, Chris Brogan, Nicky Cakes (this dude is hilarious), Jeremy Schoemaker, and the like.

 

9. YouTube Will Continue To Dominate

image This one is easy:

  • Biggest user base.
  • HD. My favorite greasemonkey plugin YousableTubeFix exposes hi/lo FLVs, MP4, and HD MP4 options. Better quality equals better user experience.
  • Chromeless player. YouTube is the only company I know of that has a Javascript controlled chromeless player, which can be embedded in any other flash player. Combined with already existing millions of embeds all over the Internet, YouTube’s popularity isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
  • Google backed. Anything is possible when you Google owns you. Competition releases a good feature? YouTube has the resources to one-up it in no time. Need for more servers? YouTube will just buy a few thousand more with the $1.65Bln Google gave it. Traffic explosion? No problem – YouTube has been mooching off the Google CDN for months now.

At the end of 2007, I predicted that in a year we will experience unprecedented HD quality online video. This prediction came true when Hulu and fueled by its success CBS, ABC, NBC, and pretty much every other TV network released their free online TV sites. YouTube launched HD a few months later.

So, my YouTube prediction for 2009 is it will sign deals with major TV and movie networks to finally start showing legal TV episodes and movies. It will become the biggest legal TV and movie hub on the Internet.

 

10. PostgreSQL Will Gain Popularity

image Sun’s buyout of MySQL in 2008 surely sent some shockwaves around. However, I predict that the following factors will contribute to PostgreSQL gaining momentum:

  • certain features of MySQL were moved to Enterprise only. Open source enthusiasts don’t appreciate an open source project going partially closed source, so they will be looking for alternative software, like PostgreSQL.
  • having spent years with MySQL, I am incredibly frustrated with certain quirks that should have been worked out a long time ago. As software architects look for stable, mature, cost effective, and easy to maintain databases, they will find PostgreSQL increasingly attractive.

Don’t take my word for it. I highly suggest taking a look at this whitepaper comparing MySQL and PostgreSQL. here are some highlights:

  • Online operations and reorganization. This is my biggest beef with MySQL. Almost any ALTER table command will prevent writes to the table while it’s being altered. This operation requires double the table size because an ALTER simply makes a copy of the table, a rename, and then drop of the old one. This takes FOREVERRRR. PostgreSQL, on the other hand, supports a lot more online operations that will not take down the table. MySQL promised to support online ALTER TABLE by 2009. Will they keep their word? I highly doubt it.
  • PostgreSQL supports function based and partial indexes.
  • PostgreSQL supports nested triggers.
  • PostgreSQL supports user defined datatypes.
  • PostgreSQL has an IP address datatype (woot!).
  • MySQL’s default engine doesn’t support online backup and recovery (*cough*, MyISAM, *cough*). Don’t even get me started on MyISAM, which doesn’t support referential integrity, transactions, of any other ACID properties. Yes, I know, there's InnoDB. It’s a lot better. But it’s still not good enough.

If you have spent time interfacing with both MySQL and PostgreSQL, I’d like to hear from you. Everyone I talked to so far who had used both, preferred PostgreSQL.

For all the MySQL fanboys, I was and still am one of you, I use MySQL every day. I’m only trying to open your eyes so you can see the rest of the world.

Did you know PostgreSQL was a lot more mature than MySQL? Postgres was started in 1986 (or 1977 if you count its predecessor Ingres), while MySQL was initially released in 1995.

In fact, I think the only reason MySQL is so much more popular than Postgresql nowadays is luck and marketing by MySQL AB (hey, it sure paid off, I’m not saying anything).

So, here’s to PostgreSQL having a bright future.

 

Bonus

As a bonus, here is a collection of links to other interesting predictions for 2009:

● ● ●

Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer, blogger, and future millionaire (that last part is in the works). Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

In the meantime, if you found this article useful, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee below.



Share
  • HG

    The bit about MySQL only shows how uninformed you are about it. Or perhaps you are just a troll or a fanboi, who knows.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @HG
    I am quite informed about MySQL, from both my work with it for the past 7 years, the 2008 MySQL conference, and my conversations with database developers. I'm not trying to troll but the flaws in MySQL have been frustrating lately.

    In any way, I've reworded a few things in case they seemed a bit harsh.

  • http://omninoggin.com Thaya Kareeson

    I like #3 wireless photos/videos and #4 Wireless everywhere the most.

    The only problem I have with it is how much will it cost for such a the wireless service? Wireless providers already charge an arm and a leg for internet on your phone. :P

  • http://openark.org Shlomi Noach

    Hi,

    There is much for MySQL to take from PostgreSQL. I'm very much familiar with MySQL and know its limitations and quirks.

    But… The whitepaper you've linked to is, in my opinion, unfair. It compared PostgreSQL with MySQL on MyISAM. In this respect its correct. But it repeatedly mentions "oh, and there's this other storage engine, InnoDB, which does have all these important stuff we were complaining about".

    Right, InnoDB is owned by Oracle, not MySQL, but the fact is, it very commonly used (I suspect more than MyISAM, but I don't know for sure.)

    So the comparison *should* have been: PostgreSQL vs MySQL/InnoDB.
    In this comparison, we can talk about CPU scaling, IO volumes scaling, etc. Perhaps PostgreSQL is better in all these as well – but none of that is discussed in the paper. They just wave their hands and say "MySQL does not support transactions".

    The comparison table at the end of the paper does more justice. But it's more like "the small print".

    Regards,
    Shlomi Noach

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @Shlomi
    By all means, I agree that the article isn't being very fair to MySQL because it picks on MyISAM but to be fair to a regular joe who had never heard about the differences between InnoDB and MyISAM, MyISAM is more than likely the default engine on his machine and joe would be heartbroken when his precious database crashes beyond repair.

    As far as InnoDB goes, it is a big improvement over MyISAM but it's not enough (which is why a myriad of other storage engines is being developed). I think PostgreSQL's got it right: none of this multi-engine crap. Instead develop and maintain one core engine, and do it really well. You, of course, may disagree. For example, to draw a parallel to MySQL, it would mean everyone working on MyISAM, InnoDB, Maria, PBXT, etc, would be working on the same storage engine and making it perfect. If I then wanted more speed, I could disable some features.

  • David Andersen

    Hi,

    Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies for more emerging technologies.

    Regards,

    David

  • David Andersen

    Hi,

    You wrote: "with the $1.65Bln Google gave it". That money was probably given to the previous owners of YouTube, not YouTube as a company. Though you are right that if Google sees a continued potential in YouTube, and YouTube needs additional resources, then Google has a vast amount of resources available.

    Regards,

    David

  • http://coffeebear.net/ Mark

    In regards to #1, are you familiar with OpenStreetMap? They're already working on this.

    • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

      @Mark
      Thank you for the link, indeed looks very interesting and relevant.

  • Fausto

    You went to Chilli? Can you see Russia from your house? Outstanding. No wonder you need GPS.

  • http://momjian.us Bruce Momjian

    Interesting you singled out Postgres as a prediction for 2009. There certainly are valid reasons that Postgres continues to gain momentum; MySQL is only part of it. The larger issue is the commoditization of databases, like with server operating systems, that makes it harder for commercial database to make money.

  • http://www.nostradamical.com Brad

    If you like this, you're gonna love this…

    Launching into public beta today – http://www.nostradamical.com. Publish your predictions, meet like minded people, share opinions.

    Check it out.

  • http://www.sheeri.com Sheeri Cabral

    Which features were moved into MySQL Enterprise? There are features that are *developed* for MySQL Enterprise, but there are no features I'm aware of that have been developed, then moved to Enterprise-only.

    As for why MySQL is successful — it is because it's easy to use. In a short 500-word tutorial, people can be querying MySQL. Think of how easy "show databases" is. This also can be a bane of MySQL — that things aren't standard, and many things weren't implemented, in order to be user-friendly.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    @Sheeri
    you're right, I meant to say reserved for Enterprise, rather than moved. As far as I remember a separate backup solution and the new monitor are some examples of that.

    As for the rest, you also bring up a good point. Ease of use, "dumbed down" for an average new user combined with MySQL AB's marketing. Though, I must admit, community participation of MySQL's developers and evangelists is notably better than pg's.

  • Honda

    open source GPS into an automobile dashboard?

  • John

    Really, I think the one major hurdle for PostgreSQL is:

    "Postgre"

    They should come up with a better name.

    MySQL flows so well, and is short and concise.

    Postgre is ugly, and hard to speak.

    In a world where aesthetics are more important than functionality (see anything by Apple), Postgre is not only the black sheep, it is the ugly black sheep.

  • http://prefabrik.cd.gen.tr Prefabrik

    Yes, I think 2009 is going to be a hard year. I see a purging of idealism happening, replaced by a realism that will make for better decision making once the economy turns.
    My sense is that Facebook by the end of the year will need to "reinvent" itself because Twitter has changed the game. As I described to a friend this evening. Twitter is blogging and Facebook done like a real conversation between people. The question is whether it really is anything more than that. I don't know.
    Lastly, I do believe that this is a year to change the customer relations game. With less commerce happening, presumably, there is more time for interaction. That interaction has to build the relationships that will mean something once the recession is over. In other words, now is a great time to make fundamental changes in how business approach certain aspects of their business.