Google in 2011 will see some spectacular failures and some startling successes. That's the way it has been in recent years and there's no reason to expect that pattern to change. For every Android, Chrome, or Gmail success story, there's a Lively, Wave, or Dodgeball misfire. Google makes no secret of its willingness to make high-risk bets. Here's 10 predictions for what to expect from Google in the coming year.
1. Social Integration Of Google Services
The coming year will be critical for Google's social computing efforts. Facebook continues to grow and has become a habit that many users appear increasingly unlikely to want to break. If Google cannot demonstrate a compelling social offering in 2011, it runs the risk of looking like Yahoo does in search: a company that fell behind and never got back into the race.
Google is believed to be developing a social toolbar or browser extension that will tie its various services together. Expect an announcement in May, at the company's developer conference, Google IO. Google is going to want its forthcoming social capabilities to be available to developers so they can add value.
2. TV Signal Strategy Revealed
That's probably when we'll hear a lot more about Chrome OS too, with Chrome OS netbooks from Acer and Samsung promised for mid-2011. Around this time, Google may also be ready to announce something about its plans for TV signal white spaces, such as a partnership with Logitech to make a white spaces router.
3. Google TV Goes Hollywood
The Android SDK for Google TV should show up before March. The best-case scenario is that Google TV will have spurred enough developer interest to provide some excitement at Google IO. But developer interest depends on consumers buying Google TV hardware. And consumers are unlikely to want Google TV hardware if content providers continue to prevent their content from appearing on Google TV. Expect Google to open its wallet to help encourage Hollywood's stars to come to its party.