Before we begin, a quick confession: I am not a psychic.

Despite what you may have heard, I can't actually predict the future. In fact, I don't even believe in the time-tested tradition of making tech predictions (well, except for one foolproof prophecy I foist upon the Twitterverse every January, but that's a special sort of forecast).

You know what I do believe in, though? Trends. Observing the sometimes-subtle trends within a tech ecosystem over time helps us understand the bigger picture of where things are moving and why. That's the kind of "future-gazing" that lets us make educated guesses about a then-tiny-young-platform's likelihood of exploding and, against all popular odds, becoming the world's most widely used OS. That's the kind of "crystal-ball reading" that lets us see the seeds of two separate Google platforms starting to come together and not canceling each other out (as popular opinion consistently predicted).

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