You’ve seen every body else’s 2006 predictions, but to be quite frank, they’re crap. Here’s the definitive play-by-play of how 2006 is set to unfold.
1. When Oprah Winfrey conducts research for her Robert Scoble episode, she mishears something about a rumour about Microsoft or Google buying Opera. Thinking she herself may have suddenly become a Web 2.0 takeover target, she quickly decides to buy Opera herself, renames it as the Oprah browser, changes the colour scheme to lilac, and it quickly become the default browser choice for every female on the planet as well as the celebrity browser of choice.
2. Everyone wakes up to just how buggy Web 2.0 is and the Kool Aid brigade, quickly rush out a patched version called Web 2.1. Realising that no Web 2.0 companies have any kind of business model behind them, Web 2.1 is based on Paypal donations, on the premise that people really do want to thank web developers for “changing the world”.
3. Generation Y suddenly get a renewed taste for death metal, satanism and all things black and bad. Suddenly, Google’s “do no evil” branding renders it a pariah and Microsoft is once again embraced as the new cool.
4. Web 2.x startups start to have trouble recruiting AJAX developers because they’re all working on next-generation online poker and interactive porn sites. The Web 2.x community refuse to accept either genre into their fold, most likely because they’re making too much money.
5. Microsoft rebrands Live.com site as Death.com.
6. Everyone wakes up to the fact that Web 2.1 is just as buggy as Web 2.0 and finally realise that no piece of software, no matter how cool it is, can be responsible for changing the world. Fearing that the Web 2.x balloon is deflating, the Kool Aid brigade rush out Web 2.5 to make it look like they’ve made a lot of headway. There’s still no business model, but it is hoped that nobody will notice based on the fact that three point releases have been skipped.
7. Oprah doesn’t think her audience gets Web 2.0, Web 2.1 or Web 2.5 and renames the “movement”, Web Makeover. Celebrities all over the place start dropping the phrase and before you know it every Internet start-up wannabe, commentator and consultant is a Web Makeover expert. Web Makeover blogs abound, incessantly linking to all the other Web Makeover blogs who also “get” just how cool Web Makeover startups really are. There are a heap of absolutely kick arse Web Makeover parties and conferences where everyone gets to reaffirm this fact to everyone else.
8. Larry and Sergey are both booted out of Google for good, for being too “old school” and Eric Schmidt finally gets to do things his way and turns Google evil overnight by buying out the rest of AOL and bending its search algorithms to favour all of its content. Generation Y thinks this is really cool and Google makes a miraculous stock recovery. Microsoft responds by re-instating Bill Gates as CEO.
9. Unfortunately, no Web Makeover companies are making any money yet, and after failing to come up with a new business model (despite the fact that 1,238,292 blog posts were devoted to the subject over the course of the year) every Web Makeover start-up now integrates online casino and porn widgets into their applications. This would have worked but for the fact that…
10. Generation Y decides that being evil is so yesterday and suddenly, what’s hot, is religion, family and yo-yo’s. Bad boys Google and Microsoft both tank. Yahoo!, which failed to make the transition to evil, primarily because of the exclamation mark in its name, takes over as the new Internet kingpin. Microsoft rebrand Death.com as Bornagain.com.
11. Having spotted the change in sentiment a couple of months ahead of the curve, Oprah concluded that anything based on pornography and gambling wouldn’t be a good a strategic fit with her new goody-two-shoes image and in the nick-of-time she completes an Internet-sector exit, selling off the Oprah browser and all Internet related properties to Yahoo! for lots of money. She re-invests in genome research because it really is changing the world.
12. Having watched Google and Microsoft tank and now Oprah’s exit, the market shits itself and the Web-whatever-its-called-these-days bubble pops. Every Web-whatever-its-called-these-days blogger manages to find a blog post they penned on that one day when they weren’t tripping on Kool Aid and declare: “I told you so”. They then go and get real jobs and wait for the equivalent of Web 3.0. Yahoo! makes a shitload of money with online casinos and porn sites.