It is the time of year where we predict what we can see from technology in 2021.

We already know that we are good for new iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones, new smart speakers from Amazon and beautiful new smart TVs that have a higher resolution than ever before – at a lower price.

So let’s offer some technical predictions about what more we can see, or just can.

Let’s start with a given:

You pay for email in 2021

The world’s most popular email program Gmail is owned by Google, which has decided to follow in Apple’s footsteps by getting more people hooked on monthly subscriptions. (Apple’s services – which include Apple Music, News and iCloud – are now the second highest revenue generator, across Macs, iPads and Apple Watches.)

This year’s top technology: Zoom as ‘poster child for 2020’

More: Apple iPhone again this year’s best technical seller, thanks to the home-working trend

As of June 1, Google will no longer allow users to upload photos and videos to Google Photos for free. Google offers 15 GB of free photo storage, but it also includes backup of Gmail and Google Drive. The question is that you pay for storage, which starts at $ 1.99 each month – but for only 100 GB of storage.

I do not know about you, but Gmail is worth 41 GB now, I have 15 GB images in Google Photos and 1.7 TB on Google Drive.

Sure, I can remove Google Drive, but the thing is, my email is a living, growing thing that just isn’t going to get any smaller, no matter how hard I try to clean it up. It grows every day. So if you like Gmail, get used to it, you can pay.

Microsoft and Yahoo still offer free email, but they are full of ads, and you are encouraged to step up to the “premium” versions, which start at $ 5 and $ 3.49 a month, respectively, to go without advertising . Yahoo eliminates the possibility of automatically forwarding mail from Yahoo Mail, from next week, unless you spend $ 34.99 annually for the service.

Big tech will not find the new administration any friendlier

We believe that Facebook and Google’s DC issues will not change with a new Biden administration. The companies will continue to be drawn into Washington to defend efforts to break up. Elected President Joe Biden has complained to the social network many times about all the misinformation that comes out about him on Facebook, and the company refused to act. It will certainly not play well in the Biden years.

Streaming Wars loses a big player

So many new streaming networks launched in 2020, especially HBO Max and Peacock, and many more are on the horizon for 2021, including Paramount Plus and Discovery +, but at least one of the new networks will go down. Or so says US DAYS colleague Brett Molina, who puts Paramount Plus as the most likely victim.

Paramount Plus is soon the new name of what was CBS All-Access, with the addition of movies from the Paramount Pictures library and TV shows from Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon) vault. “It’s just too many of them,” says Molina. “I do not see that it lasts.” (You will see many more first-time movies on streaming channels in 2021, as Warner Media has announced full slate for HBO Max and Disney + has also planned several first-time awards.)

5G will not get better until late 2021

The launch of new phones with access to the supposedly faster wireless speed of 5G, and the wireless operators’ breathing hype about faster speeds made many consumers scratch their heads. The promised speeds were not faster than 4G. One day, 5G will live up to the hype, but not until “late 2021”, says Gene Munster, an analyst and investor at Loup Ventures. For real progress, we must wait until 2022.

Local retailers will find a way to compete with Amazon

It’s an ambitious wish, but “someone wants to solve the need and find a way to fill it,” says Kieran Hannon, marketing manager for OpenPath, a company that offers next-generation office entrance technology. He believes a service will be developed to help local retailers compete with Amazons in the world by allowing customers to order from a direct website that serves the locals and have products delivered to them at home, thus keeping sales in the neighborhood.

Zoom and video conferencing only get bigger

Business travel may begin to return from the dead in the second half of 2021, but all the companies that saved money from the trips will probably not be as eager to send employees around the country when meetings can be made cheaper and more efficiently via video conferencing.

The students will return to the classrooms one day, but company meetings, seminars, webinars and the like will probably continue. You do not need to return these ring lights to enhance your look yet.

Speaking of Zoom, a possible acquisition?

The video networks are a hot property that saw the use of climb from 10 million to 300 million after the pandemic, making it a major target for the acquisition. Who better to buy Zoom than Amazon?

Businesses are already working together with Amazon Web Services to provide the server backbone of all these Zoom meetings. Unlike Google, Apple and Facebook, which have their own well-established video networks (Google Meet, FaceTime and Messenger), Amazon has nothing.

So with Zoom in the company, and all the meeting minutes (around 2 trillion, in April alone), what an attractive goal that would make Amazon remind us to use Alexa and buy more stuff, right?

Pay for podcasts?

Finally, Munster from Loup Ventures believes that Apple will follow its success with the Services division by introducing a new way for podcasters to monetize their shows by charging recordings. He sees a “Podcast +” that sees everyone’s favorite audio show (like Talking Tech) added to the Apple One package with Apple Music. “Good news for podcasters, who may see Apple as another way to monetize the listener base.”

We love it.

Happy new year everyone!

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter

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