HP's head of graphics and imaging says the rise of Web 2.0 applications and services simply couldn't have been predicted a decade ago. In his opening keynote at HP's Labs event in Lisbon, Steve Nigro also spoke of the "mesh of user-generated content" now available to users.

Asked whether HP could have foreseen the growth of internet applications, Nigro replied: "Absolutely not. We did not see this...10 years ago many people didn't see what the web would have become".

He also added that if it had been possible to predict, " Microsoft would never have let Google get to where it is."

For HP, one of the key themes is how printing fits into what Negro called "the Web 2.0 world". He believes that we still like to print photos, despite the rise in online photo-storing offerings such as Flickr and even Facebook. "Print is both portable, permanent compared to the web, personal. We believe its going to play a role."

Carbon footprint

Nigro said that catalogue printing is increasing 70 per cent each year in the US. That's testament, he says, to the need for businesses to reach out to customers using print. In the future, mailings like these could be printed in locations local to where they will be delivered, such as Post Offices. That, said Negro, would reduce the carbon footprint of the printed matter.

Nigro also spoke of the realisation that the converging one-device-fits-all mentality just isn't realistic. He said he didn't believe all applications would switch from being PC-based to web-based. Tech.co.uk will be reporting from the HP Labs event all week.