Below are five headlines that will only appear in alternate timelines, April Fool's jokes, or on The Onion's homepage in 2006.
Google releases operating system
Google has made it pretty clear it intends to win the operating system
war by refusing to fight it. Instead, they're focusing on the browser,
building a suite of applications (Gmail, Google Desktop, GoogleTalk)
that can run on any OS, so long as that OS supports a W3C-compliant Web
browser. They want to sidestep the whole OS issue, so rumors that
Google is going to buy a Linux distro and fight Microsoft on its own
turf are simply wishful thinking on the part of the Penguin set. It
ain't gonna happen.
RIAA backs off antipiracy crusade
People keep asking why the RIAA "doesn't get it" when it comes to
digital media and intellectual property. Well, it's actually the people
asking those questions that don't get it. The major record labels are
part of publicly traded major media conglomerates, and they are
answerable to shareholders. Those investors want to know that their
investments—much of which are represented by the IP value of the
record catalogues—are protected. So long as these investors feel
threatened by piracy (Read: So long as the news media continues to use
piracy to make cheap and easy headlines), the RIAA and its members are
going to keep up their headline-grabbing antipiracy fight.
MSN Search steals marketshare from Google
Even if Microsoft builds a better mousetrap—which remains to be
seen—Google's marketshare and brand recognition are simply
unassailable at this point. Google is a verb,
period. Whether Google can leverage its search supremacy into dominance
of other markets—e-mail, IM, VoIP—is still worthy of debate, but
unless Microsoft builds a Google-blocker into Windows Vista
(hello, antitrust), Google will remain the undisputed search king for
at least another year, if not another decade. Any marketshare gains MSN
search makes this year will be negligible at best.
RSS used by majority of Web surfers
I'm as big a fan of RSS as anyone, but this is a technology for early
adopters and hardcore Web surfers only, and it's better suited for the
back end. The average consumer doesn't want to learn a new way of
surfing, doesn't want to learn how to use a new plug-in for (or
separate app from) the browser. Indirectly, someone is going to use RSS
to build a better portal, a better mobile experience, a better Web app,
or even a better search index. This will benefit the majority of Web
consumers in ways we haven't yet though of, but RSS itself will not be
front and center of these phenomena.
Blogs, wikis go mainstream
Again, I'm a huge fan of both technologies, but again, the average
consumer could give a flying fig about either one. Ask the typical
shmoe what browser he uses to surf the Internet, and he'll answer
"Windows." The IE-versus-Firefox issue doesn't even register, and
that's an actual end-user-impacting product choice. Most civilians
don't distinguish between conventional Web sites, wiki sites, blogs,
and portals. A site is a site is a site. Moreover, blogs and wikis
aren't really revolutionary, they're simply improved publishing
platforms that let writers and readers publish and participate more
efficiently and intuitively. That's always been the promise of the Web.
The real legacy of blogs and wikis will not be that they grab headlines
and usher in a massive punctuated-equilibrium evolution of the Web, but
that they slowly and subtly erased the line between creator and
consumer, and over the next 3-5 years brought about a true participant
Think I'm an idiot? Post a comment and rationally support your argument (If you can. If you dare.)
Want see what other TR staffers and bloggers believe won't happen in 2006? Check out the notin2006 tag.
Got you own ideas about some antiheadlines? Blog them yourself and tag the entry notin2006.