Meet The Makers has an interview with Jeremy Allaire, who is Technologist-in-Residence at General Catalyst Partners, a venture investment firm based in Cambridge, but is most widely known as the co-creator of ColdFusion. Things that Allaire is tracking: Rich clients, Web services, Real-time communications , Broadband, Digital lifestyle devices, WiFi and wireless devices, Paid content, Blogsphere and syndication networks, Open source and outsourcing. Some quotes:
Browser innovation has more or less stopped. Thats largely intentional for Microsoft, from what I can tell, as they gear up to move beyond the browser. Clearly, the browser will remain the platform of choice for hypertext documents, document browsing and many Web applications. But I strongly believe that over time software applications will move to rich clients, such as Flash Player, and to environments like Avalon, which is part of the Longhorn operating system release from Microsoft. The browser is just too limited for applications, and increasingly we need content, media, applications and communications all integrated in a much more seamless way, and thats what Macromedia set out to do with Flash Player, and what I expect youll see from Microsoft in a few years.
Google has a vision to become a central utility for all users of the Internet. If they believe that asynchronous communications and self-publishing is a central utility, then it makes a lot of sense. Many people have speculated about this acquisition, asserting strategic plans to create the world of memes, Vannevar Bushs original notion of a global knowledge system. In reality, it appears that this was pure opportunism with an intuition that it could be turned into something really big.
Weblogs are the natural evolution of personal publishing, and their emergence has driven standards like RSS that are now becoming central to professional journalism witness the number of feeds for major media brands. Weblogs recast the Web into a two-way medium, which to many people is as fundamental to the Internet as browsing. I think theyll play a big role in a couple of ways.
First, Weblogs and Weblog standards will evolve to accommodate basic personal publishing, the equivalent of a personal home page and a vehicle for sharing life experiences with a personal network of friends and family. I see this aspect converging with digital lifestyle devices, rich media and communications-centric applications.
The second trend, and the one that most people seem to be watching most closely, is the role of true one-to-many public Weblogs as a sort of journalism for the masses. While I think that second trend is true, I believe it will be far less significant than the use of Weblog technology for personal publishing for friends and family.
A final note on this topic is about the role of RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. Created by Dave Winer, and then adopted by Netscape, RSS is taking on a big role in the emerging semantic Web. Id like to see RSS and related standards play a larger role in data-centric syndication applications, rather than its current role as a news and headlines syndication format.