With 2017 now in full swing, we wanted to write some predictions about what we think might happen this year. In 2016, voice search began to really take off, everybody copied Snapchat, and Facebook presented us with more fake news than we knew what to do with. Let’s hope this year isn’t full of more of the same!
Lots and lots of personalisation in all types of media we view:
Personalised TV adverts, aimed directly at us, since we’ll be using more on-demand services. These on-demand services will essentially integrate with our Google, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts so they can provide information to advertisers, who in turn deliver personalised and targeted advertising to us. “Been looking for an iPhone on Google recently – expect a plethora of iPhone related adverts on your TV next”.
This also opens up (for the first time) “multi user-single device” issue, when more than one user is interacting or viewing a single device (like a shared TV set). Will services want to know exactly who’s watching before providing the service? How will they provide value to the multi-user setup to encourage users to admit their participation in the multi-user setup?
Social media war. The different social media channels used to be different, they used to each have unique features, now they all overlap. I think Snapchat is going to suffer, unfortunately. Even with the release of new products like Spectacles, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are playing catchup and I don’t think it will be long before they take the crown when it comes to next cool feature everyone wants to use.
I predict we’re also going to see an emphasis on shopping within social media apps. Last year Facebook introduced their Marketplace within the app, and Instagram and Pinterest are following close behind. You won’t just visit these apps to view photos and pins that take your fancy anymore, you’ll be encouraged to buy at every possible moment.
The major noise in the world of Google last year was all about mobile index and relevancy. So I have my money on Google pushing further and further into a world that serves mobile and voice. Not that we will all suddenly abandon desktops but Google is continuously improving and innovation for those experiences.
Specifically I imagine Google will be working on featured snippets and the way they appear. Snippets will be generated based on concepts, context (including intent) and previous searches. The inklings of that have already been covered in a great article about stressed pronouns.
So snippets themselves will become more fragmented in the way they are put together. Titles will often be dynamically created by Google to match the intent and previous searches. The content of the snippet could also change, only showing the part that is relevant to the person’s current situation.
Large tech companies with experience in voice such as Google and Apple will try to replicate the integrated nature of Amazon Echo in the home, making it more natural and easier to talk to a device. This will logically push integration with the Internet of Things to voice control devices in your house and elsewhere, in an extension to the way that Amazon Echo will play you music that you request through its inbuilt speakers.
Companies will want to monetise this technology by simplifying the purchase process for certain items through their own voice activated shops or gateways.
Individual users’ voice recognition and authentication will become very important as purchasing is made available without the use of typed passwords.
As the year unfolds, I think that there will be more change throughout Europe. I believe Italy will leave the EU, the euro will fall in value and potentially crumble, and it’s likely the EU as a whole will face significant, if not insurmountable problems. I predict that the standard of living in the UK will decrease but the overall economic picture is not one of constant decline.
This leads me onto the connection between technology usage and mental health. I think this will be under a greater amount of scrutiny as we realise the impacts immersive technology is having on us. I predict that we will begin to see more voice enabled websites, especially now voice search has really started to take off. I also think we will see some changes with Apple and Twitter. Apple’s shares and profile will decrease, whilst on Twitter we might finally get that edit button we’ve been waiting for.
As you can see, our predictions vary quite a lot, but I think there’s definitely a focus on personalisation of our online experiences. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the next 12 months. This Christmas Amazon’s Alexa was a novelty, but what about next year? What will be the next product to slip into our daily routine?