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Flash will dominate the media-sharing web

Funny to see someone else notice a growing trend: The Coming Flash Desktop. Since YouTube came out, it’s been pretty amazing to see the usage of Flash grow and dominate media sharing on the web.

I remember that back in the day, Google Video required you to actually download a program that would need to run on your computer. And you had a bunch of sites like Break.com (formerly Big-Boys) and Putfile using embedded Windows Media Player controls. But now, pretty much everyone has switched to Flash.

A close friend, Will Portnoy and I lamented the fact that we couldn’t buy Macromedia separate from Adobe and cash in on this trend. We noticed this because we too, stupidly, were trying to commercialize another technology and make it more mass-market friendly: BitTorrent. Anyway, we eventually learned that being on 95% of the desktops and bringing instant gratification was just a one-two punch that’s very hard to overcome with any technology.

The question is, what’s next for Flash? If you imagine that the folks at Adobe are not asleep at the wheel, they could do a lot of interesting things that would make their company very interesting.

Here are some of the random options:

  • Building a P2P protocol into the architecture (obsoleting quite a few companies)
  • Making it easy to "register" your media into a central media directory, which they could control and syndicate
  • Building search or other functions into the media framework, or providing services to unite all the Long-Tail content
  • Making it easier to embed Flash and use it in rich applications beyond websites
  • etc…

Either way, it would not be particularly hard for Adobe to get their hands on a ton of content, based sheerly on the fact people are building applications on their proprietary framework.

I figure that Adobe probably has a couple years to do this before a bunch of people freak out and decide to collaborate and use an open standard :)

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