The Web's Six Most Important Innovations Of 2008

Wired lists its must-have Web technologies of 2008, paying homage to those products and enhancements that are so cool and so important one wonders how we ever got along without them. The first is identity management, which became a must-have innovation for every social network over the past 12 months. And tools like OpenID, Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect now allow you to take your identity and your connections with you to your favorite sites.

The second coolest innovation on the Web this year is HTML 5, which will eventually replace HTML 4.01 as the Web's dominant programming language over the next few years. In 2008, key HTML 5 features started to trickle out. Another new breed of social networking app was birthed in 2008: the lifestream. Just about everyone on the Web is a member of multiple sites with social features, making it harder than ever to keep tabs on your friends, but sites like FriendFeed and Plaxo serve to aggregate all that good social networking activity, dumping news feeds and updates from various networks into one place.

Firefox 3 is another must-have innovation. The new version of the popular browser arrived in June 2008, and "got everything right." It's faster and more secure than before, and more than 8 million people downloaded it on the first day of its release. Another browser, Google's Chrome, also made Wired's must-have list. Upon its release, the ultra-fast Google browser was instantly recognized as a potential game changer. Location awareness was Wired's final must-have innovation, moving from being "a fancy-add on" to "a requirement of any serious, successful Web service."
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