I was poking around trying to find a better video editor, when I stumbled across an opensource project called, Jahshaka. Jahshaka is positioning itself as being a fullbodied product that can compete with such software as finalcut pro (wow!). Not sure about that, because I could never (ever, ever) get the windows installer to work properly. Maybe if I had already switched to ubuntu ALREADY…

Anyhow, I started thinking about all of the new things out there that I probably don’t know about (and some that I do) and somehow I ended up crystal ball gazing (a very dangerous occupation).

It is really amazing how fullbodied some of the opensource products are (openoffice, wordpress, drupal, anyone?) and perhaps, even more amazing, all of the online tools now available (thinkfree, etc.)

As for my thoughts on the near future on the ‘net: niche social networking, user centered aggregated content (perhaps, even some consolidation?), and digital identity. Web3.0 and semantic web? Maybe.

I think niche social networking will become even more popular (social networking sites tailored to the needs of visual artists have popped up recently). Considering how easy it is to get lost in the crowd at facebook or myspace, I can see how appealing a specialized site is. Plus, the one size fits all just does not really… well, fit. Visual artists have been advocating/begging/petitioning myspace for years to create a visual arts portal, as myspace has for musicians. Why bother with that, when there are several sites specifically for visual artists?

However, having a specialized site means another profile and spot on the web to maintain. Social networking and content aggregators are surely to be even stronger in ’08. How else to manage all of the personal content bits floating out on the web? All of the stuff you want to read? Google reader can help, Pageflakes might be even be more useful (a variety of content, not just feeds or clipped websites), but then there is the other stuff: all of the various profiles, with logins and passwords. Social networking aggregators such as spokeo, profilactic and others, can be handy. Digital identity tools are certainly helpful, for logging in OpenID (one login for multiple sites) and in distinguishing what is yours and perhaps, more importantly, what is NOT yours (and is in no way affiliated.) Consolidation is bound to happen and a little is a good thing — unless google ends up owning EVERYTHING….

Among sites being touted as ‘hot’ for ’08: PowerSearch (a semantic search engine) , Pownce (social networking & more), etsy (an online store similar to ebay focused on handmade and originally produced products… most of the art community that I know, do not seem overly enamored with etsy, thus far), Dopplr.com (a travel & meetup site), twitter (really? I thought we were all tired of twitter by now), children’s social networking such as moshimonsters and webkinz (if you know a tween or preteen, just ask them about webkinz), seesmic (video diaries)…

..and of course, Google opensocial, if it ever makes headway. I also like some of the projects which allow users to make a positive contribution to a body of knowledge in some way, like the steve museum project, where users assign keywords/tag artwork, identifying artists’ work, and more) and also recaptcha, which uses scanned images from books as captchas (a phrase or word typed in some sort of form, that the user must enter in a text box, which prevent spambots from automatically using the form).

..and then there is always wikipedia, citizendium, the new Google Knol, and those sorts of sites.

Other trends & technologies that have popped up in the onslaught of 2008 predictions posts/articles include:

Location based services (niche marketing of a sort), Mobile Social Networking (I keep reading about this as a big trend, but it just seems more like a means of access to me — be it a pda, iphone, laptop, desktop, psp or whatever… but freely available WIFI at most public buildings, that could definitely continue to change things), lots of chatter about Google taking on the cellphone/mobile industry with Android, Gaming, SecondLife/Virtual Worlds (OpenSL?), internet habits changing as the mobile industry & high demand downloads continue to increase, increase in usage of Linux and other opensource projects (evergreen, the opensource ILS?), and an increase in distrust in google (I love google products, but they are a corporation after all.)

Creating widgets and apps to work with much of this technology is usually (but not always, of course) fairly easy to do and can easily be done by someone with minimal coding experience. I see lots of places where libraries can be, if they want to be. I guess that is the question.

Facebook is so last year http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/dec/24/facebook.socialnetworking

2008 Predictions http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/2008_web_predictions.php

2008 Technology predictions http://latestgeeknews.blogspot.com/2007/12/2008-technology-prediction.html

The Economists Prediction for 2008 http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10410912

Top 10 Startups Worth Watching in 2008 http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/news/2007/12/YE_10_startups

30 Library Technology Predictions http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/archives/2007/12/30_library_tech.html

..and of course, a generous sprinkling of my thoughts.