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Review of the Year 2010 and Trends Watch 2011
Posted On January 6, 2011
The year 2010 saw the emergence of the iPad, the Android, and apps—lots and lots of apps. The market for mobile computing skyrocketed this year. And, information industry providers were quick to jump in with content delivery apps of all kinds.

But, I actually think it’s a toss-up for top news of the year. While some say 2010 was the year of the app, there’s also a very strong case that it could be considered the year of the ebook. And, in our information industry, you could make a claim for it being the year of the platform relaunch (and I did, in my December 2010 NewsBreak Update column in Information Today). Content providers hustled to implement new platform architectures that would provide a more agile development environment (i.e., make improvements faster) and provide customers with a more satisfying and productive search experience (i.e., more like Google).

At any rate, it’s been a fast moving, mobile, digital, always connected, and social world in 2010. I think we can expect more of the same in 2011. Will we see a backlash to such constant connectivity?... The pace does take its toll.

Hot Topics in 2010

Over the past year, the most-read news article posted on the site was a NewsLink Spotlight last April, “Alternative Search Engines Offer Rich Options.” It highlights some lesser known search engines that have established a niche. And, as search experts know, “it's best to keep an arsenal at hand rather than just a single weapon of choice.”

However, you just can’t fight Google’s dominance. Almost anything Google did this year was of great interest to our readers—Google search, Google providing patent data, Google Docs, and Google apps marketplace. One very popular article covered its disastrous product introduction of Google Buzz. Another was the recent and highly anticipated launch of the Google eBookstore. This is setting up an interesting battle with Amazon and putting pressure on other ebook distributors. Some in the book trade are calling this a “Gutenberg moment” for the publishing industry

Ebooks and ereader devices were clearly one of the leading news developments of the year—and the momentum is likely to continue. Ebooks and ebook distribution have become central to many publishers’ growth strategies. The New York Times reports that publishers are predicting that digital sales will grow rapidly as ereaders given as holiday gifts are activated.

Other popular topics in our NewsBreaks this year (full list available at included the following:

  • Security and privacy issues
  • Facebook—love it or hate it
  • WikiLeaks
  • Net Neutrality
  • Developments in discovery tools (from Serials Solutions, EBSCO, OCLC, etc.—with continuous announcements of new content providers and library customers)
  • New legal platforms (WestlawNext, Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis)
  • Elsevier’s SciVerse
  • Thomson Reuters Book Citation Index (due in 2011)
  • SkyRiver’s antitrust lawsuit against OCLC
  • OCLC’s Record Use Policy
  • EBSCO “Exclusives”

What’s Hot for 2011

  • More tablet PC options (Forrester Research has revised its U.S. consumer tablet forecast for 2010 upward to 10.3 million units, and expects sales to more than double in 2011 to 24.1 million units.)
  • Continued market domination and popularity of Apple’s iPad (update due in early 2011)
  • Increasing demand for mobile apps and mobile compatible websites
  • Personal barcodes (QR—quick response—codes)
  • Google’s Android platform
  • 4G networks
  • Ubiquitous communications
  • Touch technology interfaces
  • Increased implementation of cloud computing
  • Google’s Chrome Browser
  • Gradual adoption of HTML5 (it is not yet fully standardized)
  • Increase in Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) options
  • Ongoing focus on security/privacy issues—online and on mobile devices, including smartphones and ereaders (this will never be “solved”)
  • Applications being “socialized”
  • Facebook growth continues (some see it as the biggest threat to Google)
  • Enhanced/interactive ebooks
  • Focus on portability of ebooks
  • Many options for low-priced standalone ereaders
  • More legal disputes and patent wars
  • Twitter as take-over target (Google as buyer?)
  • More interest in open and linked data
  • Search analytics
  • Library advocacy initiatives continue
  • Information prices are rising but content budgets aren’t keeping pace (see
  • Streaming content
  • Interactive TV

I’m not sure about widespread adoption of 3D technology (so far to me it’s underwhelming, cumbersome, and expensive).

Through Other Lenses

ReadWriteWeb has published a series of annual review posts covering best products, top companies, and predictions for the coming year. Its top web trends for 2010 include mobile, the Internet of Things (networked objects), location-based social networks, the real-time web, and structured data (an important component of the Semantic Web). Check it out at

Top Twitter Trends in 2010

2010 on YouTube

2010 Google Zeitgeist: This year Google added interactive HTML5 data visualizations for the top queries and events from around the world. “You can easily compare the popularity of the Olympics vs. the World Cup, see the world’s reaction to Haitian earthquake or the Gulf Oil Spill through the eyes of search trends.” It also created a Zeitgeist Year in Review Video.

Yahoo! 2010 Year in Review. Interesting editorial commentary in each category: Top 10 Searches, Natural Disasters, Financial Uprisings, etc.

Technologist Eric Hellman says you can’t predict what will happen to the book industry by looking at the music industry—very perceptive in my estimation. Books can be of value in very different ways—a cookbook, romance novel, dictionary, travel guide, a manual on programming. He thinks “the book industry of the past is fragmenting into many smaller industries based on business models that deliver the most value.” He discusses some of the models being tested now: freemium, subscription, patron driven acquisition (PDA), advertising, the PIP (Pretend It’s Print) model, and even serial mine-books. His article is worth a read.

5 E-Book Trends That Will Change the Future of Publishing, by Philip Ruppel, president of McGraw-Hill Professional.

1. Enhanced ebooks are coming and will only get better

2. The device war is nearly over

3. The $9.99 ebook won’t last forever

4. The contextual upsell will be a business model to watch

5. Publishers will be more important than ever

Stephen Abram looks at ebooks from the library perspective: “e-Books in 2010 and 2011,” Dec. 28, 2010, Stephen’s Lighthouse. “My vote for the hottest topic of 2010 in libraries surely goes to ‘e-books’. This topic wasn’t only hot hot hot but also very misunderstood.”

New Jersey librarian Andy Woodworth blogged his thoughts and I think made some interesting points: “7 Library Predictions for 2011.” His bottom line: “Despite everything, it will still be a good year to be a librarian.”

Enterprise Mobility: 10 Tech Industry Predictions That Will Shape 2011, by Don Reisinger, eWeek.

IDC recently released its “IDC Predictions 2011: Welcome to the New Mainstream” (December 2010) and over the next month or so will issue dozens of industry-specific predictions documents. Brief summary: “In 2011, a select group of disruptive technologies—cloud, mobile devices and apps, broadband connectivity, social networking, and analytics—will move beyond ‘early adopter’ status, maturing and coalescing into a ‘new mainstream’ platform for growth both for the IT industry itself and for the industries it serves.”

11 Predictions for 2011, by Tim Bajarin, PC Magazine. One key point he makes: “We all love to stream our movies and TV shows on demand. However, if more and more streaming media is downloaded simultaneously within any given network, it has the potential of really slowing down our Internet speeds. Key networks are already thinking about ways to cap individual's monthly download allotments, so expect this topic to be debated and argued vigorously by network providers and consumers and be one of the hotter topics next year.”

MediaShift Special Series: Year in Review 2010.

The year in digital: 130 stories that shaped 2010,” Dec. 20, 2010, Netimperative. “The good, the bad and the quirky...”

11 Conventional News Wisdoms We’ll Test in 2011,” by Ken Doctor, Dec. 23, 2010, Seeking Alpha. Some of his insights:

“My sense: the tablet is the post-print reading device. Any publisher who doesn’t plan for tablets to hasten the print to tablet demise will be left out of the future.”

“We’re now moving into a smaller-can-be-beautiful era, as news companies and media brands of all kinds focus more intently on core their core audiences, those who really identify with and use their brands. The idea: get those customers to pay, satisfy the hell out of them…and make secondary money on all the fly-by traffic that Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter send your way.”

One thing’s for sure—2011 will not be dull. Best wishes for the New Year, everyone!

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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