Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Myspace, Wordpress, LinkedIn, Skype, Netflix, Craigslist etc etc... The list of successful products on the web is huge, but what will be the next big thing?
Given above is the table of Top 10 sites for the month of October 2009 in terms of unique visitors (Source : compete.com). Lets see if we can get some pointers from this table.
Google, Yahoo, MSN, Live, Wikipedia provide answers to questions, give information, provide relevance and authenticity and are a generic starting point for our online endeavors.
Facebook is our online network of friends. Youtube solves the need of video in our lives. Amazon is a bookstore and ebay is an auction house, only bigger, better and far more democratic.
And of course, Microsoft had a bigger hand than most in making all of this possible. You can go on and map most of the items on the first list with what we do, or used to do in our daily lives before it became digital, networked, interconnected and mobile.
Friends, Family, Pictures, Audio, Video, Entertainment, Voice, Encyclopedias, Music, Auctions, Classifieds, Conversations, SMS, Business & Productivity Applications, Movies, Bookstores etc etc...
However, books still remain in a cocoon. You can get them delivered to your door step, read or write one online, but for the most part, books still remain analog and disconnected from the rest of what we are up to.
The wealth of information and the strong foothold books have in our lives cannot be ignored.
eBook readers, especially Kindle and Nook as well as things like Google Books, are steps in the right direction. For example, the need to have books in the traditional medium of paper is going to go away soon. The barrier to entry (actually holding a book or having access to it) is going to dissolve.
Information already available in existing books will become more and more accessible. Contents from books will start showing up in our searches. Authority on subjects and topics will become referenced. But most important of all, the true potential of this traditional and age old habit of human beings will be brought to the forefront, just like search, music, entertainment and news.
This place is only going to become hotter, more competitive and digitally networked as we move ahead. But what about Newspapers & TV? Lets discuss next time...