As each new year starts, analysts and pundits make a slew of predictions of what will be hot for the coming year. And we're no exception. A year ago, I chose ten sites and services to watch in 2009.
Truth is, the past 12 months were a tough time for any new site or service to find its legs - just staying alive was doing pretty good.
So I'll give myself a score of 20 percent for last year. But this year will be different - I've gone for some safer bets this time.
My picks for 2010 include websites, web services, and mobile sites; since so many sites and services now run on desktops and on mobile platforms, it seems pointless to make a distinction.
I did not, however, select any mobile apps, which I still consider a different category.
With that in mind, here are the sites and services that I think have a decent shot of leaping into the limelight during 2010.
1. Fancast Xfinity TV
After a long period of talking about it, Comcast has finally released a web-based version of its cable TV programming, although its only available to US users.
With its new service, Fancast Xfinity TV, users can watch cable shows on their PC, on demand.
The service rolled out to two high-end package groups last month, and right now offers about 2000 hours of TV and movie programming, to its subscribers. I expect the service to extend to subscribers of less-expensive cable packages next year, and to add progressively more content.
Fancast Xfinity TV could evolve into the place on the web where you have the best chance of finding something to watch when you don't know exactly what you want to watch.
Early tests of the new service show a dearth of searchable content (Comcast had to get permission from each and every content partner to include their shows in the service), and that it's a little tough to use, but I expect those problems to go away - the first one quickly, the second one gradually.
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