While the 21st century hasn't brought us jetpacks and flying cars (yet), it has certainly delivered a world's worth of interesting digital technologies. But as everything goes social and Web 2.0 becomes 3.0 – we investigate what trends are set to be big on the web in 2013.
– More people are online
The internet is reaching more people across the globe, with around 30 per cent of the planet's population now thought to be online. Its reach is most effective across North America but other countries and regions are quickly catching up. More people are also using social media, with nearly three-quarters of respondents to a recent study claiming they web was an integral part of their everyday lives.
– People are accessing the web in different ways
The boom in smart, mobile devices has had a profound impact on the way the average person interacts with the internet. While the 20th century saw us trapped behind desktop computers, the 21st has seen us break free and interact with digital technology on the go. The smartphone market bloomed by nearly 40 per cent in 2012 and its growth looks to continue, if not expand – with more than 7 billion devices expected on the market by 2015.
Tablets have also seen exponential growth, with 67 million devices being shipped in 2011 and 248.6 million expected by 2015. Form factor plays a “crucial” role in the uptake of tablets, so we're likely to see a range of different devices hit the market in 2013, perhaps utilising interesting new technologies like curved glass, 3D or transparency.
Social media has let people carry traditionally-physical activities into the online world seamlessly. While the dominance of Facebook continues, newcomers like Pinterest are providing a more diverse offering.
Google+ began to make serious headway in the social arena during 2012 – outdoing the likes of Twitter and YouTube in terms of activity. It's integration with Google's other range of products means that the company will be investing more resources and effort into promoting it – meaning now might be the best time to get your foot in the door.
– We're becoming voyeurs
As mobile devices get slicker and internet connection speeds grow quicker, our demand for rich media has become voracious. YouTube remains kind of video, with 72 hours worth being uploaded to its servers every minute. Marketers are keen to exploit this trend as well, with media-filled posts generating more likes and shares than those without.
– Semantic search
Google's auto-complete feature has become like an old friend now and Facebook‘s recently-introduced Graph Search could be an indication of the quickening pace of semantic technologies in 2013. As search engines and computers begin to make increasingly complex connections, we're likely to see a sea change in the way we interact with technology.
The future looks bright for the internet in 2013, with a host of exciting new developments awaiting those willing to try new things. However, trends are notoriously fickle and the next big thing could be waiting right around the corner.
This article was brought to you by Gerald Heneghan on behalf of PR Fire an online press release distributor and repository that offers a range of services for brands and journalists alike.