At the 2004 World Economic Forum, Microsoft Chairman (and then CEO) Bill Gates promised that "two years from now, spam will be solved" by Microsoft.
Well, it's been six years. Is spam solved yet?
In 2007, Intel proclaimed 2008 as "The Year of WiMax." Pundits have predicted ever since that WiMax would transform not only the use of mobile devices, but even home and business networking.
What, you're not using WiMax yet? Now pundits are predicting 2010 will be "The Year of WiMax." Again.
Back in the Fall of 2007, Google announced a breathtaking new initiative called OpenSocial. The plan centered around a small set of programming interfaces that social networks could use to enable users to connect across not only social networks, but even regular Web sites.
The hype at the time saw the Google OpenSocial movement as so powerful and compelling that any major social network that failed to support OpenSocial (*cough* Facebook! *cough*) would be left on the ash heap of history.
Okay, technically Google actually delivered the "product" on schedule. But two and a half years later, how are you enjoying that open, interoperable social Web?
Well, you're not, because OpenSocial is the social tsunami that never happened.
Back in the Dark Ages (1996), we all enjoyed a popular PC game called Duke Nukem 3D. It was so fun, the company started work a year later on a sequel called Duke Nukem Forever.
The "Forever" bit is apparently a reference to the development cycle. The company is still working on it, and still plans to ship it. Will it ship this year? Will it ship this decade? Nobody knows.
Silicon Valley and the extended consumer and business technology industries make world-changing products, and culture-shifting online services. But mostly, they manufacture hype -- often for products that never see the light of day.