How Tech Will Improve Our Lives in 2008: Page 2

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4. Blessed relief

There's a "Seinfeld" episode in which George Constanza brags that he knows all the best places to find a bathroom in New York. For those with not quite as much time on their hands as George, a company called Yojo Mobile announced MizPee in December.

The free service lets mobile users locate the nearest clean bathroom facilities in 16 major U.S. cities, based on -- I'm not making this up -- "peer reviews and ratings." Expect to see the network expand in 2008 because, hey, let's face it, the need is there.

5. Are we there yet?

Look for the remarkable recent advances in GPS technology to continue in 2008. More localization and live traffic feed options have already arrived, so these handy devices not only tell you how to get where you're going, but how long it should take.

Some of these traffic feeds are subscription-based, but free ones are also coming to market. And if you're tired of the same old digital voice telling you to "Turn left" and "You have reached your destination" there's a rapidly growing "navtone" industry of alternative voices similar to ringtone downloads of popular and obscure music. The site features such celebrities as Mr. T., Gary Busey and Burt Reynolds.

Surely we can do better in 2008.

6. Video, video video

Video fanatics, or heck, let's just say anyone under 30 for starters, will have a lot to look forward to in 2008.

More video for Internet-in-your-pocket mobile devices is a no-brainer prediction. Of course, a lot of that will be "Hey, look at me pull this cat's tail!" YouTube fodder.

But it can't be denied that online video has only room to grow. Video search site Truveo recently reported that the 100 million online videos it's indexed would stack almost 75 miles high if each was a DVD. Truveo said it expects there to be a billion searchable videos by 2009.

More stats. Americans watched nearly 10 billion videos online in a single month, according to an October 2007 comScore report. Perhaps even falling HDTV prices won't be enough to stem the tide of video viewers migrating from the boob tube to the nearest PC.

7. Casual videoconferencing

Speaking of video, videoconferencing figures to broaden its appeal in 2008.

Webcams are becoming standard equipment on consumer notebooks, moving video chat to more of an expectation than a novelty.

On the business side, I had an interesting visit to the new Accenture Technology Lab in San Jose, Calif., where they are putting many experimental technologies to practical use to see how well they fly.

One is a video wall in a frequently used corridor. Employees can check in with other Accenture offices, or customer sites, in an impromptu -- or scheduled -- video meeting, much as they might chat face-to-face informally around the water cooler.

Nifty. Let's just keep that video wall in the corridor; we don't need big brother in the office, thank you very much.

8. Take your life with you

Not quite, but I was impressed to see Corsair kicked off 2008 with the introduction of a 32GB line of those keychain USB drives. Two versions are available, either the all-rubber Flash Voyager or the aluminum-encased waterproof Flash Survivor ($229.99 and $249.99 respectively).

Not cheap, but USB drive pricing has been nothing if not fluid as competitors join the fray. Corsair said a 32GB drive can hold up to 16 full-length, high-definition movies or a healthy chunk of anything you might want to take with you from your PC -- like most of your digital life.

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