When it comes to new technologies, everyone is a pundit. We all become little fortune tellers who love to predict which new technology would shape our future in the coming years and which one is doomed right from the word go. No wonder every new product that is supposed to take on a previous favorite amongst most users is initially dubbed as a ‘killer’ device. After a while, the killer finds itself in it’s own coffin.
Talking about killing and dying products, two of them have recently managed to grab my attention. Google+ and Adobe’s Flash (on mobile) – no points for guessing. While you may disagree with me on the former, Flash on mobile has just been pronounced dead by it’s father, Adobe, itself. While Flash never looked promising enough to perform on mobile devices, Google+ did raise expectations to directly challenge Facebook in the trademark don’t-be-evil-Google way.
Let’s take a look at Flash first. Adobe is abandoning Flash development for mobile devices like you ditch your favorite pizza company if it doesn’t deliver in the promised time. Bad example but in a way Adobe did fail to deliver the goods in time. So when Steve Jobs went all out and declared that his devices won’t flirt with Flash anymore, Adobe thought he’s just being his usual self and he’d come back begging for some love in the future. Obviously they were wrong.
Steve Jobs posted a public note on Flash back in April 2010 that concluded:
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 250,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
It’s November 2011 and the world knows how Steve was just perfect in his predictions about Flash. My only worry now is how the other tablet manufacturers are going to pitch their devices now that ‘We have Flash’ just won’t work.
Coming to Google+, I must admit that I was kind of optimistic about it catching up. A few months down the line, I wish I was right. From where I see it, everyone on Google+ is either Robert Scoble or it’s the team of engineering and marketers working on Google+ itself. Somehow adding friends to cool circles doesn’t seem so awesome anymore. If it’s just about a video hangout, it would still need all my friends to be present there. That unfortunately is not the case here.
So how long before Google admits it made a boo-boo again? I’d say they may give it another year or so, considering they’ve just launched pages for brands and products (still wearing my pundit cap). For Google to prevent Google+ from becoming a ghost town in the near future, it seriously needs to rethink it’s social strategy. Yes. One. More. Time. Gaining 40 million users and becoming the fastest growing social network by forcing users into it isn’t the key to running a great social network.