The NewNet is beginning to take on more shape as companies’ further hone their strategies for the next generation internet and concepts become more integrated into real-world scenarios, applications and solutions. The concepts of social networks and real-time information are becoming more central to people’s lives. According to Adweek’s digital media hot list released in late October Facebook is the hottest internet site with Twitter following close behind at No. 3. Search was also well represented with Google and Bing both on the list in the No. 4 and No. 7 position respectively.
The struggle to stay hot in the NewNet era is spurring companies to continue to advance their social network and real-time search capabilities. Leading social network sites were very active in the fourth quarter, announcing both innovations within their sites and vast and various partnering relationships. Facebook has been particularly active, announcing a variety of new initiatives in the fourth quarter, including launching Facebook Chat, which will work with any kind of XMPP client; a Yahoo-Facebook Connect deal; and an upcoming site redesign. Such innovation has helped to propel the site to 350 million active users as of early December.
Twitter is also striving to stay current with a variety of proposed business model adaptations (including ads on the site and enterprise-oriented initiatives) and international expansion plans. Tweets were integrated on Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo search pages during the quarter as well. Despite all of this, however, U.S. Twitter traffic has slowed.
Google is still working to seek out its place in the NewNet. The company continues to be the center of much merger gossip, but is also actively launching initiatives independently. Google launched in mid-December an array of products intended to make search more relevant and convenient, the most significant being that the search engine will bring real-time results, including public updates from Twitter, Facebook Pages, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku and identi.ca directly onto its Google.com results pages. However, despite initiatives such as these, Google has slid from a No. 1 position in Adweek’s ranking last year to its No. 4 position this year.
There was also a great deal of activity in the fourth quarter surrounding NewNet applications, ranging from social TV and music to smart metering and job search. NewNet functionality is increasingly being interwoven into a host of traditional online and offline activities. For instance, smart metering is the future of energy management and is a rapidly growing industry with an expected 250 million smart meter installations by 2015 according to Pike Research. The smart grid has the potential to be intimately tied with the NewNet as real-time energy usage monitoring allows for more effective response to energy consumption. On the social front, TV and music are increasingly incorporating social features with commentary tracks being integrated with video and music being shared via social networking sites.
2009 has been an explosive year for the NewNet as the concept was developed and integrated into all aspects of the web. It is anticipated that in 2010 the NewNet will be equally disruptive to the old way of doing things and evolutionary in creating a new path for the new Internet era.