And the next Google is....

Erick Schonfeld, Om Malik and Michael Copeland have identified the next 25 most promising Google/Microsoft wannabees out there and sort them into five separate categories; social media, mashups, new phone, webtop and under the hood. There are some well known names likes Digg and Flikr.

The current buzz generated by Web 2.0 (the new generation) bears a striking resemblance with what the webosphere experienced a few years ago, before the internet bubble exploded. The Millennium was just behind us and billions were lost (or gained and lost) in that period which lasted only a few month.

But this time around, things might not get that dirty. At that time, the big things were getting people online, online shopping and getting your own website. Remember Egroups, Boo or Xoom? Well by next year, you might expect quite a few of the hot start-ups currently under the sun will get swallowed by the bigger ones - Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, News.com. And there's no illusion as one VC mentions, very few makes money - they are all after eyeballs and creating sustainable communities. As soon as they will reach a critical mass, the owners will sell to the highest bidder.

Out of the five categories the trio expanded on, it is the social media category that is more likely to suffer the most casualties simply because they have the least possibility to generate revenues. Digg.com for example has spawned a number of copycats on the internet, all of which are trying to copy its success by replicating its structure. And since it is free, the only way for it to make money is either to be sold or through advertising.

Now, there even exists open source packages allowing pretty much anyone to build Slashdot or Digg and nothing can prevent MYG (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google) to build Digg clones. The other categories stand much better chances of getting fat profits although some (like telephony and voice) are less exciting than others. If the office where we work is anything to go by though, clearly the most promising face of Web 2.0 lies in the webtop and under the hood. Should it deliver what it actually promises, traditional work processes are bound to change thanks to some of the most disruptive technologies to hit the web.

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