I came across an article at ReadWriteWeb.com by Richard MacManus and thought it would make a delightful read for the TechRepublic community. Here's a summary of the article and my additional thoughts on how the trends will probably span out.Semantic Web
It's Tim Bernes Lee's dream of a Web where a meta data layer exists for all data on the Web, which essentially enables machines to communicate. The possibilities are immense with many meaning-based search engines, such as Hakia.com and Powerset, waiting to cash in on the new Web. There are also companies like Applied Semantics (acquired by Google, which claims it isn't into semantics), Ontoprise, and Inxight that are getting semantic products ready.Artificial Intelligence
These two words have been the "in-and-out" buzz since the early days of computing. But here, the only trend that I see in the future is more "unintelligent" methods getting implemented to an extent that seem to mimic intelligence. Intelligence is a far call. My basic argument is that intelligence is the product of the human mind, and unless we unravel the human mind completely, we can only construct machines that mimic human activity.Virtual worlds
This is one real hot area in the future of the Web. With enhanced graphics and immersive worlds, social interactions in the virtual world will see lot of growth. The future may hold virtual worlds as an extension to the social networks as we know them today.Mobile
Today is the age of the mega-phones and the future is bound to have better and more powerful gadgets that could make the desktop obsolete. Mobiles top my list of trend centers to watch out for. Apart from mega-storage capacities and power processors, innovative UI features will be uber-cool. The iPhone is just a little indication of that trend.
The attention economy has been thriving since the Web began., and it will gain more dominance as services get exclusively planned for people's attention. Your attention will become a more marketable commodity with services coming as an incentive. This is the trend that has made Google what it is today, and definitely more companies are going to make the shift.Web sites as Web services
Both on the enterprise side and the consumer side, Web services are fast gaining momentum. This is another reason why I think the desktop is bound to fade out. More and more content will be accessible off the Net. Issues relating to data privacy are the only thorns in the way.Rich Internet applications
Adobe, Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla Foundation have all indicated towards incorporating features that merge the desktop and the Web to give users "Web-tops," which are applications that seamlessly run off the Web with offline features that ensure a smooth experience rather than a disconnected reality.Internationalization
The Web will be more global with sufficient innovations and contributions coming from across the world. Another trend in internationalization will be more links between governments and the Internet, as more services become accessible via the Web, and also in governments realizing the repercussions of the Web as a power tool.Online video / Internet TV
Online video is the most visible trend in this generation of the Internet. The future will see better quality content with more power compression being delivered at faster speeds. Content searching will become more pronounced (and it will be way more accurate than meta-tag searching).Personalization
This is one area where there are two stark possibilities. One is what I call the "iGoogle-way," with service providers hunting for more and more data on users for targeted services. The other trend is where a set of services will be available that do not rely on user-specific data. A few search engines are already touting themselves as highly relevant and at the same time user agnostic. Also, the dismal support in the Internet's architecture for security will have a heavy effect on how user data is made available for personalized services.
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