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Web Trends 2009

Written by on January 1, 2009

Every year I try to predict what will happen in the year to come, and this year is no different. So without further ado, here is the Web Trends to look out for in 2009.

The Big Trends


The most dominant trend of 2009 is going to be "cocooning". This is a result of the financial crisis, and an exceptionally low consumer satisfaction rating. People are simply going to protect themselves from outside temptations. They are thinking twice about what to buy, what to engage in, what to look at, which tools to use, and how they interact.

In short they are cocooning. It is going to get a lot harder to convince people to try out new things.

This is not limited to people. Companies are going to build even stronger "cocoons" around their businesses, in an effort to focus on their core business and to cut costs.

Everything, Everywhere!

2009 is also going to be a year filled with mobility. This is not only coming from the smartphones, but from all kinds of different devices. It is going to bring on a new era of "everything, everywhere". An era where people expect to be able to do pretty much everything, at the moment they decide to do so.

The smartphones and 3G connected netbooks are going to be the biggest elements in this movement. But keep an eye out for the gaming consoles too.


In 2008 we saw the social networks "grow up". While it is still surrounded by a lot of buzz, the initial surge of excitement is over. Now it is "a part of life".

The result is going to be two things. First of all, we are going to see a surge of de-friending. Many people, who have tons of "friends", are going to clear out those that they really do not know. We don't have the time to invest in friends with no personal relations. And we don't want to clutter up our "walls" with updates from people we don't know.

Secondly, people will use social networks more, but less of them (that is they will not use both MySpace and Facebook, just one of them). Companies needs to diversify to stay relevant to all (the long tail of marketing).

That said; social networking and social interaction as a whole is going to continue to rise in 2009.

Connected Social Services

A big area of "web services", in 2009, is going to be in connected social services. It is services that allows you to do something, but output the result somewhere else.

One example is when you can use Twitter to update your status on Facebook. When you use Flickr to manage pictures (and videos), but output them in a photo gallery on your blog, or - again - on Facebook.

Or if you could compare your performance with Nike+ with all your friends on Facebook. That is, you use Nike+ to manage your runs, but use Facebook as the "community" (as opposed to run a separate social network on Nike's own servers).

"Connected social services" is also going to be the biggest challenge for companies, as they find that traditional social marketing is failing.

Always together

The last "social" trend for 2009 is going to be new tool for bringing people together, no matter where they are. We have already seen a lot of this with SMS, chat, web cameras, and social networks in general. But in 2009, we will see a lot of new and exciting tools with this purpose in mind.

Traditional is dead - really dead!

2009 will be the year when a lot of companies finally discover that traditional efforts are simply no longer useful. The biggest losers will be TV (and TV broadcasting in general), email, SMS, MMS, any form of direct marketing, attention marketing, and even some forms of permission marketing.

In short, push marketing and any form of products that "demand" your attention is not going to work.

It is in the cloud

On the technical side of the web, we are going to see a big change when it comes to cloud-computing. That is, instead or running "IT" yourself, you outsource it to huge internet-based "data centers".

It is simply not practical to run your own data center. Like when the clothing companies move their production to Asia in the 1990's (and removed all local production facilities in the process), the same is now going to happen to IT departments.

While this trend is starting to make an impact in 2009, it will take quite some time to really make an impact (at least 3-5 years).

Microsoft and Amazon are going to be the biggest players, simply because they are more "compatible" with enterprises. Google will get a lot of attention, but very little actual use (at least in 2009).

We are also going to see a number of new players in the "cloud-computing" world, along with some interesting advances in "cloud-usability".

Note: You should seriously look into this in 2009, if you are a web developer.


The trend of APIs, which really took off in 2008, is going to rise to a much higher level in 2009. Almost all web services will allow some form of API integration to other systems. And, they will be a lot easier to use than the heavy developer-centric system that we see today.


2009 is also going to be the year of sensors. In 2008 we saw the coming of multi-touch, accelerometers, camera, GPS etc. In 2009 there will be a lot of focus on using sensors to enhance the experience. Not just the sensors we see today, but all kinds of sensor technology.

Other things to look out for

Apart from the big trends above, there are a number of smaller trends

  • Yahoo - is going to be sold (or merged), probably to one of the big media companies (although their search business might be sold separately to Microsoft).
  • Semantic web isn't going to happen, again...
  • Enterprise 2.0 is beginning to change the enterprise world, although it is not going to be the Web 2.0 that people expect.
  • Non-desktop web experiences are important, and the desktop browsing experiences (from desktop and laptop computers) are going to be less important.
  • Cross-device internet applications will be a key to success.
  • Intelligent and artificial intelligent web applications are going to be the key to great user experience.
  • A new type of web applications will emerge, ones that provides a service "behind the scenes".
  • Company websites will change - become a hub.
  • Netbooks - will either be incredible big, or start to fail. The problem is that they are too small for serious use, but their low price and mobility makes up for that shortcoming.
  • Advertising in 2009 ... in one word... ugh...

That is my predictions for 2009. What do you think will happen in 2009? Post your thoughts in the comments.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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