Technical Predictions for 2017

reading time 4 min

Don’t take these predictions too seriously. However, these are some predictions and/or concerns I have.

Prediction: Container format wars will be a major set-back for DevOps.

The container format wars (which I predicted previously) will heat up, stalling progress and putting at least one company out of business.

Prediction: 2017 will be the year that personal drones cause a crisis.

Personal drones will cause a lot of problems. It will be something of size and impact of, say, one colliding with an airplane resulting in multiple deaths.

Politicians are waiting for the perfect time to regulate drones. They have draft laws prepared. At the first big emergency those drafts will be introduced and in the rush of excitement we’ll end up with some really bad legislation.

Prediction: Apple will merge macOS and iOS.

The writing on the wall is clear. macOS and iOS are slowly merging. Eventually the Mac will be just an iOS device that has a keyboard, and the ability to break out of the Finder so that you can write applications.

NB: This probably won’t happen in 2017. Maybe 2018. I’m including it here just in case.

Prediction: Apple will drop the Mac Laptop.

The only reason I’m predicting this is because Tim Cook is saying it isn’t true.

In my experience when a CEO denies something by writing a long explanation about why it isn’t true, that just means he/she isn’t ready to announce it publically.

Apple is making so much money on the all of its money on the iPhone that the board has to be asking Tim to justify the existance of the Mac line. Eventually the only reason to make the Mac will be so that there is a device that can be used to write software for the iPhone/iPad. At that point, they can just make Xcode for iPad and Windows then get out of the Mac business.

When you see an article called Apple’s Tim Cook assures employees that it is committed to the Mac and that ‘great desktops’ are coming you know that the end the Mac is soon.

(I’d also like to note that in Nov 2015 Tim Cook said Apple won’t combine a MacBook and iPad.

NB: Again, this probably won’t happen in 2017 but it will happen eventually.

Prediction: Google will add spreadsheet-embedding to Google Docs

Just kidding. I predict no substantial improvements to GSuite.

The strategy around Google Docs seems to be keep it “consumer-quality”. There’s plenty of companies that will pay for it as-is, because it is better than nothing. Companies that want MS-Office and Exchange will pay for that kind of thing.

The few companies that do pay for it covers the cost of the free version but no major improvements.

On the other hand, Google’s new CFO Ruth Porat is requiring that each part of Google be profitable instead of permitting advertising to make money for everyone else to spend. If she is serious about that, Google will have to decide if GSuite is going to stay in maintenance mode (no major features) or are they going to invest in it, hire a lot of engineers, and add the features that people have been demanding for years.

There is some indiciation that things will get better for GSuite. Google Sites has been overhauled. The new version is very different and much more modern. Sadly they’ve moved it away from being a corporate-friendly wiki and turned it into a website design tool. I say this is a mistake and shows a lack of understanding of what customers need. However, the new sites creates pages that look very pretty, so if your CEO isn’t paying attention it looks like progress.

Google Site’s mistakes are easy to see:

  • Is isn’t multi-user. It is now the only (major) GSuite product that doesn’t subscribe to the “many cursors” philosophy. WTF?
  • It is difficult to do simple updates. 90% of all updates are quick edits. It is difficult to just log in, make a quick edit, and leave.
  • It is less of a wiki, which is primarily what existing users want. So, maybe they’re trying to make a new product for a new audience. However, they haven’t communicated that. Plus, what is that new product?

What do I think GSuite needs to do to over-take MS-Office 360?

  • Add a Trello-like product
  • Add a wiki (my dream Wiki would have a quoted code block that doesn’t “fix” quotes)
  • Add spreadsheet embedding, etc.
  • Get aggressive about GCalendar improvements (a refresh button? really?)

Meanwhile GSuite is getting a lot of competition: Amazon has a corporate email product, Dropbox has a multi-user wordprocessor that is amazing (could a spreadsheet be on its way?). GSuite is losing market share to the point that Office 365 is out-selling it.

I could rant a lot more about GSuite. I love it. I use it every day. However I think it needs more love from Google. I’m not optimistic.

Tom Limoncelli

Tom Limoncelli

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