Guessing who will come up with The Next Big Thing is a perennial sport in this business, and today's emerging technologies provide reason for even more speculation than usual. Among the latest to weigh in with predictions is Dion Hinchcliffe's Web 2.0 Blog, which makes a valiant effort at sorting through start-ups that remain buoyed in the wake of MySpace and YouTube.
First on the list is Fanpop, a social site that's built around specific topics that it calls spots. (Fanpop's honchos explained to us why it's not a "social network" here.) Next up are Zango and Last.fm, entertainment sites that focus respectively on games and music, followed by some familiar social networks such as Bebo and--surprisingly--Friendster, which we had pretty much given up on several months ago.
Perhaps the most interesting entry of all is Popurls.com, a page that aggregates all the top tagging sites, including Digg, Delicious, Reddit and Flickr. Popurls seems to be taking a Web 1.0 concept toward 2.0 sites, essentially sitting on top of the hottest information feeds and potentially taking away their traffic because you can read summaries of their items by mousing over the headlines without ever clicking through. Think Google News, but with items pushed automatically to you instead of pulled from search engines, all on a single page that is easy to scan.
The approach proves an important axiom: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Sometimes, anyway.