How 10 popular Web 2.0 companies might fare

1. Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram alpha

What does it do? Computes answers to your question instead of looking for them online. Restricted to its available databases.

Prediction: It's still early days, but this is very impressive stuff . Overkill for most mainstream use, though.

2. Facebook

Facebook

What does it do? Started as a social network, now wants to be a full development platform. The most influential of its kind.

Prediction: Likely to be usurped by more specialised services unless it makes better use of its data collection.

3. Twitter

Twitter

What does it do? 140-character microblogging made easy. Whether you want to stalk celebs or talk about your own life, this is the place.

Prediction: Booming despite many growth problems, but at a rate that risks premature burnout if it isn't careful.

4. Yahoo

Yahoo

What does it do? One of the biggest portals in the world, which often gets unfairly overshadowed by its search battle with Google.

Prediction: It'll never win the search wars, but don't count it out elsewhere. Yahoo has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

5. Hulu

Hulu

What does it do? The best way to legally watch free television in the US – and Hulu will be coming to the UK this Autumn.

Prediction: It's going to be huge, but it's odd that there aren't many social elements built into it as yet.

6. Friendfeed

Friendfeed

What does it do? Complete life-streaming, bringing together everything from your Flickr gallery to Twitter posts in one page.

Prediction: Now that FriendFeed has been bought by Facebook, expect the good bits to end up in Facebook and the FriendFeed site development to slow to a crawl.

7. Craigslist

Craigslist

What does it do? The internet's most famous bulletin board. A great example of how a one-man site can make a splash.

Prediction: Likely to continue only being really successful in the US. The UK boards haven't gained the same attention.

8. SnapTell

SnapTell

What does it do? Snap a photo of an advert with your phone and get exclusive information and offers in return.

Prediction: The technology is clever, but it all comes down to how good the payoff is when people try it out.

9. Yelp

Yelp

What does it do? Real reviews from real people. One of the most influential review sites on the web and growing rapidly.

Prediction: Very reliant on the goodwill of its community to provide reviews, although that works for now.

10. Spotify

Spotify

What does it do? Free legal music streaming, with a small charge to avoid adverts. Preparing to launch iPhone and Android versions.

Prediction: We don't see the free streaming option being profitable enough to last outside of the desktop.

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First published in PC Plus Issue 284

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