Monday, October 17, 2011

15 Milestones in the evolution of Information Age

Ten years back, if you needed some information you would have asked an expert in the neighborhood or you would have made a trip to the local library to search for a related printed book. But today everything has changed. Now we are able to do everything by just a click of a button. Be it from mobile phones, handheld devices or computers. Here is a list of most important technologies and milestones that changed our lives forever and helped make this information age a reality, listed in Alphabetical order.

Blackberry: Research In Motion introduced this handheld device in 2002. Blackberry combined the features of Email, Web Browsing, Mobile Telephone, Text Messaging, Internet faxing and so on. The introduction of Blackberry was a turning point in the mobile information industry.

Blogs: Peter Merholz founded this new word BLOG in 1999. It was a short form of weblog. Even though there were thoughts about blogs ten years earlier, it only took off after 1999. In countries were freedom of expression is a given, even government bodies have their own dedicated blogs to keep in touch with their people.

Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a technology used to transfer and share information between various devices including mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices. This enables easy exchange of information between peers and friends.

Camera Phone: These days every mobile phone has inbuilt digital camera. This enables camera phone users to easily take pictures and videos wherever they are and share it with the rest of the world. Some websites and blogs allow easy upload of these user generated content which has resulted in huge amount of information that are end user generated.

Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook in 2004 at the age of 20. Today millions of active users use facebook to share information and network with their friends, colleagues and family. It is an interesting fact that more than 20 percent of these facebook users are using their mobile phones to share information.

File Sharing: File sharing has a long history. In fact its origins date back to as early as 1980. However with introduction of bit torrent technology the file sharing took off fast. Though media industry still has objections of these technologies, people still use these to share files, songs, pictures and even movies.

Firefox, Chrome: When IE was the defacto browser that totally removed Netscape’s Mozilla browser from the market, Firefox came with a bang and slowly took some market share from IE. Tabbed browsing, increased speed, live bookmarking, multiple home pages, security, robustness etc are some of the features that firefox had which propelled its uptake. Google introduced Chrome recently and is the third most popular browser in the market today.

GMail: Today you can safely say that anyone who used email, has at least one gmail account. Even though email had been around for quite a while before gmail was introduced, GMAIL took everyone by surprise when it was launched in 2004 with 1GB free space. The free space has been increasing ever since and gmail users too have increased ever since and is set to overtake all other email providers.

Google: There is no doubt that in the last ten years Google is the most visited website. Larry Page and Sergie Brin invented Google searc engine in 1998. It will take very many years to beat Google’s dominance in the Internet (If at all it happens).

IM (Instant Messaging): Today we can see people messaging using IM whether from home, office, train, bus and anywhere, anytime. Google Talk, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live messenger are some of the popular IMs.

IPod, IPhone: Apple introduced IPod in 2001. This revolutionized the way we used to hear music and songs. It started with 5GB, 10GB and so on and today 160GB memory is available with IPod. The IPhone which was launched in 2007 with a touch screen phone features, push email, browsing and millions of downloadable IPhone applications free and paid has reduced the gap between man and machines.

Memory stick and Blueray: In 2000 8GB flash drive was available commercially. 256 GB thumb drives are available today. Similarly in 2006 Blueray disks were introduced which may soon replace DVDs. In a similar size as DVD, blueray disks have 10 times more storage capacity.

Youtube: What Shakespeare said has come true today. When he said the whole worlds a stage, probably he was thinking of Youtube. Today Youtube has become part and parcel of internet life. From 2005 until now it has grown tremendously and its importance in future information sharing became evident when google bought it over for 1.6 billion.

Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales started Wikipedia in 2001 and from day one it has been a hit. Today millions of articles in various languages are available freely for anyone to read. It is contributed by volunteers worldwide and anyone can contribute to this knowledgebase which will be a HUGE encyclopedia for coming generations.

Twitter et all: Last but not the least, web 2.0 technologies and user generated content, social bookmarking sites, networking sites are mushrooming and taking this information age to a new level.

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