On the beat: technology/Bay Area

This year tech was all about the consumer. Web 2.0 hit its peak, morphing everything it touched into a social network or user-generated site.

This year tech was all about the consumer. Web 2.0 hit its peak, morphing everything it touched into a social network or user-generated site.

I've noticed how gingerly agencies are stepping into the Web 2.0 sphere, excited about innovation yet cautious about overselling. And of course, covering an industry that relies on both hype and secrecy, this has meant communications range from effusive to coy.

In a sector known for novelties, several companies made lasting impact.

The iPhone promised a revolution, and whether it delivered depends on how you define the term. But the device did turn mobile apps into a feasible reality. Consumers also forgave Apple for its early price missteps, further intimidating the rest of the industry with just how loyal its followers are.

The showdown between Google and Yahoo intensified, with Yahoo undergoing a massive upheaval to gain traction. Despite some startups, search largely remained a two-, or arguably, a one-engine game.

Those without Facebook profiles risked being lost in a social network oblivion, as millions signed on for the site's third-party applications and clean interface. Though MySpace still dominates social networking sites, 2007 reminded us how fickle Web 2.0 users can be.

Insiders predict an inevitable recession in 2008 that will turn the Valley's attention from consumer to the enterprise market. Even so, this year's consumer pioneers set the stage for a Web transformation that will keep unfolding, no matter how the Valley's tides turn.

In addition to choosing entries for PRWeek's 2007 Book of Lists, PRWeek reporters provided individual overviews of a year within their beat. "On the beat" columns are also dispersed throughout the Best of Lists 2007 PDF.


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