An article at PC World does a great job of summarizing the major developments in social networking space in 2007 and ponders over the prospects and uncertainties for 2008.
One insightful point mentioned in the article is how innovation at start-ups startles tech giants. Google, the great Web firm that one-upped Yahoo in claiming the search crown and hailed as the poster child of innovation was beaten at the social networking front. All the major internet firms such as Yahoo, Google and MS were done in by FaceBook which sort of perfected the concept of applications around social networks.
Social Networking is moving from the domain of an ‘nice add-on’ feature to a must-have even at the enterprise level. Various organizations are now waking up to the possibility that to attract the next generation of talent, it is essential to incorporate the flavor of social networking and connectivity within the enterprise.
While there were major salvos fired at FaceBook’s walled garden approach to social networking apps (which it did counter by licensing the F8 platform), it will be LinkedIn’s progress in the API space that will be really interesting. Being a site for business networking, it is one network that will really see a boost with professional networking going beyond just the website to the Web as such.
But another shift that can also be expected is the increased availability of affordable feature-rich mobile phones and compelling mobile applications. Apart from the enterprise user, the benefits of mobile applications have not really trickled down to the casual user. 2008 will hopefully be the year when mobile applications especially for social networking will really take off. Since Google has made several bold moves in the mobile space, expect a lot of innovation in this front.
Overall, its been a great year for Social Networking and for 2008 there’s a lot to anticipate.