2006 was all about two-dot-oh. Whatever that may be precisely, everyone agrees about the fact its all about ‘collaboration’. Collaboration is cool, it is productive and it is easy. You don’t need to think about where to stick your tags, because gazillion others already did that: delicious. You can not just look at images, you can tag, annotate, share and so forth them: flickr. You don’t need to browse all these stupid skipintro sites to find gigs or artist info: last.fm.
But all this has one mayor downside. What happens, for example when web2.0 goes down? What happens when web2.0 is sold without too much considerations for you? Or when it eats all your hours of data-sifting, all your hard work, just to make some more bucks? In all these cases, you’re basically fsked. If Yahoo! decides they can make more bucks by closing you out from your gigabytes/years of flickr data, bad luck for you. And what about the weeks you spent fiddling with premiere to get that 5 minute video for youtube finshed, only to find out that you are no longer the real owner?
I see a great opportunity for Drupal. Decentralisation. Distribution. P2P communication between webapplications. To Take Back The Web2.0.
Another, more positive reason why that Distributed Web may become the 2007 hit, is the large integration-hype we already see emerging all around. 2007 will be about integration of services, tools and applications. Instead of having your bookmarks only on a single website they can be accessed on many websites, or in your preferred desktop application. Instead of logging in to your Drupal site, to manage hundreds of users on a clumsy HTML interface (even if spiced up with some AJAX), you can use Outlook to manage them. This requires sites to talk to eachother, and to talk to other applications. In order to achieve that integration, we will be building the foundations of that web3.0, the distribution, for free.
Drupal (the community) is relatively small, though I believe large enough to set stuff in motion, to be of substantial influence in the cutting-edge web-folks circles. Combine that, with the cutting edge Ruby on Rails code we see (there is a plugin for about every progressive idea) and the huge, progressive, userbase of wordpress, and we can start that web3.0, the Distributed collaboration web.
Web3.0 the Distributed collaboration web: You run your own bookmarkservice on your own Drupal/wordpress installation (or in your homebrewn RoR app), you run your own image galleries on your server. And you allow openID logins, or even run your own openID server.
Under water, your site, will collaborate with a flock of friends and relatives. Your site will constantly ping out changes, will provide tagclouds over XMLRPC and will gather information over that same XMLRPC, over opensearch. It will share taxonomy trees with other sites. In contrary to the (spammed to death) trackback concept, which is the first step on this road, this is not something to merely publish content all around. This collaboration is about aggregating information on the moment that you need it. And about telling others you have interesting information available.
An example: I submit a weblink to my own Drupal site. The moment I do that, I get my own tags to choose from (freetagging), but simultaneously, a ping goes out, asking my own central tag-server: do you know anything about this link? If yes, it will send back tag-suggestions. Anyone can run a tagserver, in fact, every site can be one, Drupal can act as server. Same idea as the DrupalID. On my site, i see a little “wait…“-icon, once my site received (the) suggestions, I can choose from them. Viola, a personal delicious, yet all content stays on my own site, in my database, instead of being handed out for free to a multinational. I control the level of privacy, I control who, where and how that data is used.
We obviously need to find good standards for this, but I believe that in 2007 will see the start of this. I am sure that at some point a large two-dot-oh company will go down, and then, either by selling out all your data, or taking all your valuable data with it will make a lot of people nervous. Such an event will be a boost for what I am quite sure will happen: The Great Decentralisation of the Web2.0.
Happy 2007 :)
Disclaimer: These are only ideas, more wishful thinking then actual predictions. Yet they are what I believe to be the hit of 2007.