Tech That Will (Probably) Die in 2016
By Evan Dashevsky, PC Magazine, 28 December 2015.
By Evan Dashevsky, PC Magazine, 28 December 2015.
While some technologies manage to stick around long past their expiration date, the truth is that all consumer technologies must eventually meet their end. Nobody knows for sure what the coming year has in store, but calendar year 2016 will undoubtedly be the last year that many technologies, brands, apps, or features ever see. That's just the way it goes.
This article could be a platform to mourn and remember all the technologies that are gently rapping on oblivion's door. But I propose that it would be far more life-affirming for the rest of us - the survivors! - to mock and ridicule the consumer technologies that are not as fortunate as we.
We could even make a sport out of it. A sort of death pool, in which we attempt to predict the technologies that will go belly up in the next 12 months. While there will undoubtedly be a multitude of start-ups and kickstarted vaporware that won't make it to 2017, the real sport is in identifying the moribund brands and technologies.
We're not saying we want these technologies to disappear necessarily (but in some cases we certainly wouldn't mind seeing them go), but these may be the technologies with only months left on this side of the pearly gates. Let us point and ridicule them on their way out.
Back in late spring, there was a fierce debate in the techblogosphere about which livecasting service would reign supreme, Meerkat or Twitter's Periscope. Then Twitter made the wise decision to shut out its rival's access to its platform, which was a major blow in the world of immediate digital self-expression. And now, as Facebook ramps up its own livecasting service, it leaves Meerkat users in a self-contained echo chamber, outside of which nobody can hear or appreciate their commentary on live televised awards ceremonies.
If you make a witty remark about a celebrity's nationally televised flub, but only other Meerkat users see it, does it make a sound?
Once-mighty deal aggregator Groupon lost nearly two-thirds of its market value this year. We can only assume that in the near future, you will receive an email about some AMAZING deals on lightly used office furniture from an unmentioned technology company.
3. Windows Phones
Whenever I see someone using a Windows Phone in public, I give them a weird look and hold it until they feel uncomfortable. And I'm right to do so. What a strange phone purchase to make! Hell, even Microsoft doesn't seem particularly excited about Windows Phones anymore. CEO Satya Nadella swears that Windows Phones aren't dead, but I get the feeling that the company is looking past phones to the next thing. Anyways, here's a phrase you won't read next year: "2016's most-anticipated Windows Phone."
Remember when Foursquare mayorships used to be a thing? One of my happiest memories from those heady days was when I became mayor of the FDR Drive. But then the company went ahead and split into two separate apps: Foursquare and Swarm. That was a weird and unnecessary decision in and of itself, but then came the kicker: They went and killed mayorships! I still have no idea why. I don't think they really knew why either.
But after realizing the dumbness of their ways, mayorhsips are now back - in Swarm, at least. But it won't be enough to save them. Tick tick, Swarmsquare.
Google+ isn't a terrible service. In fact, it's pretty damn elegant and sexy from a design point of view. Even Mark Zuckerberg was on it at one point. But as it turns out, a somewhat-improved UX wasn't enough to get the world switch to yet another social network.
You see, when G+ was introduced in 2011, the nation had just gotten firmly settled into Facebook following its mass social exodus from MySpace. And then Google came along and wanted everyone to pack up their digital stuff and move again?! Not so fast, Google. And so, following a brief exploratory period, users returned to old familiar Facebook, and Google's fledgling social network languished.
Fast forward to today and G+ basically just functions as a message board for Google employees and obsessive weirdos. G+ barely even got a mention at the latest Google I/O developers' conference. The company even exported many of the features from G+'s photo suite (arguably one of the service's coolest features) to the new standalone Google Photos service.
If Google execs were willing to lay waste to products like Google Reader, which had a dedicated userbase, then - at the very least - there have been some meetings about how to quietly sweep G+ out the door. Will 2016 be the year that Google+ bites the Google dust? We can only Google hope.
As far as I can tell, Google's Blogger platform exists solely as a PR release platform for other Google products.
Blogger is yet another vestige from a bygone era that has managed to escape redundancy by entrenching itself into the nether regions of its behemoth parent company. There is no reason for Blogger to exist in 2015. If you have something long-form to share with the world, there's a billion venues out there for you, many of which are arguably far superior to Blogger (e.g. Medium, Tumblr, or even Facebook Notes). A lot of you out there probably didn't even know Blogger was still a thing? Well it is. (But it probably shouldn't be.)
Yahoo filled the Internet void between AOL and Google. But in 2015, it's a decaying menagerie of increasingly whatever Web and mobile applications. The company's most promising prospects lie in its stake in kabillion-dollar Chinese Internet firm, Alibaba.
Cheers to CEO Marissa Mayer for at least attempting to turn the Titanic around, even though she has few undisputed "wins" under her tenure. Yahoo should just sell off the not-yet-dead remnants of its once-powerful empire to the highest bidder and look for the dignity in death that it was not able to achieve in 21st-century life. Go into the light, Yahoo. All your dead pets are there.
8. Google Wallet
Remember Google Wallet, that mobile payment platform that never took off? Well, if you thought it got the kibosh when Google introduced Android Pay, you'd be mistaken. Apparently, Google has different plans in mind and is designating Android Pay to be a tap-to-pay mobile payment system, while Google Wallet will be a peer-to-peer mobile payment system that nobody will use.
Google Wallet, there are already too many services that handle P2P payments fairly well. So, unless you can think of a good reason for your continued existence, then consider embarking on an honourable long walk off of a short pier, capisce?
The minimalist social network Ello was briefly a thing in 2014. But how much longer will it really be able to keep paying the bills off of past buzz? Get ready to say "goodbye, Ello."
Sure, the President still uses a BlackBerry, but he's one of a dwindling number of aging dad dorks who don't keep up with technology. While BlackBerry has seen a recent uptick in revenue (following a spectacular and historic crash), it's entirely too late for it to jump into the modern consumer mobile game. I'm calling it. Tick tick, BlackBerry.
+ Elon Musk
Let me start out by saying that I'm a big Elon Musk fan. Most folks here at PCMag are. I've even overheard more than one of my heterosexual male co-workers admit to having a "man crush" on Mr. Musk. And with good reason, he's super inspiring!
But that being said, let us turn our attention to Elon's extreme case of ADD. He is the CEO of two game-changing companies (and may be looking into a third). But apparently that's not enough to keep his overactive brain stimulated. He's also taken up a hobby standing on top of airplanes in mid-flight.
That's right. Elon Musk has taken to old-timey 1920s-style airplane acrobatics. For fun. That's a really weird thing to do in 2015!
I'm seriously worried that next time Elon gets bored he's gonna attach a bungee cord to a rocket in a misguided attempt to re-enact some kind of Wile E. Coyote stunt he remembered from childhood. All the while, his employees will say nothing in an ill-advised bid to win favour with the boss. And then FWWWOOOOSH, no more hopeful future.
Elon, we all like you. Take it down a notch.
[Source: PC Magazine. Edited.]