June 3rd, 2007 - Five Years of Web Innovation
Here’s the first draft of an article that ran in the Next technology section that appears in several Fairfax newspapers including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and the Brisbane Times. You can view a published version here. Next was celebrating its fifth-year anniversary and the editor asked me to write something about five years of changes on the Web. Basically I sat down and the key innovations that stood out in my mind. Then I dug up details on dates and arranged them chronologically. Next came the tricky part, linking them all together. I wasn’t sure I could pull it off but in the end it came together alright.
Looking back over five years of changes on the Web, one theme that stands out is the increasing connectedness of the internet experience. More services, media, and publishers bring us together in a web of growing intricacy and reach.
With inter-connectedness as our theme, let’s look at some links between the internet’s biggest catalysts for change in the last five years.
Wikipedia Launched in 2001, the explosive growth of this volunteer-compiled resource has grown exponentially over the last five years. Today it contains 1,753,739 articles, including one on….
Technorati Founded in 2002, this blog search engine became a hub for bloggers. It currently tracks more than 75 million blogs. It also maintains a list of the 100 most popular blogs, in which #41 belongs to ….
Robert Scoble In February of 2003 Scoble published his “corporate blogging manifesto”, an inspiring list of 20 principles for bloggers. Scoble is a popular resident in …..
Second Life: This multi-player online world launched a beta version in 2003. Today Second Life has over five million registered accounts as reported on the Linden Life blog, which is run on…
WordPress: The popular open source blogging platform first appeared in 2003 as a joint effort between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Today Wordpress.com hosts over 893,000 blogs. Many of these feature ads from ….
AdSense: AdSense was born with Google’s 2003 acquisition of Applied Semantics. The “Ads by Google” contextual advertising units made web publishing much more effective and lucrative for independent website owners. Revenue is based on advertisers’ bids for specific keywords, such as the current top bid of $1.04 for the search term….
iPod: The original unit was launched in 2001, but the release of the iTunes Store and the Windows version of iTunes software in 2003 sent sales skyward. Apple’s portable media player drove demand for automated downloads of audio (and later video) content, commonly known as podcasts. Podcasting tools are available from many publishers, including….
MySpace: Founded in July 2003, the social networking site rapidly grew to one of the world’s most popular websites. It was bought in 2005 for US $580 million by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. MySpace made Murdoch shine at a time when many were calling his internet strategy a ….
Miserable failure: In October of 2003, several bloggers linked to the US White House site with the link text “miserable failure”, propelling George W Bush’s bio to top spot in Google for that phrase. It is the most popular example of “Google bombing”, a term tagged by 160 users of ….
Del.icio.us: This popular social bookmarking site, launched in late 2003, allowed users to categorize and share web pages using descriptive tags. The company was acquired by Yahoo in 2005. By then tagging was popular on other sites, including …..
Flickr: Ludicorp began building a massively multiplayer role-playing game, but instead used the tools they’d created to launch a photo sharing site. Flickr used tags to create the first tag cloud, a visual representation of popular tags. Flickr has over 1,600 photos tagged with the term ….
VOIP: 2004 saw the mass market roll-out of voice-over-IP services through providers like Skype. Offering a radical departure from traditional Telco pricing, Skype had nine million online users in January 2007. You can find 1,700 videos related to Skype on…
YouTube: Founded in February 2005 by three former employees of PayPal, YouTube uses Adobe’s Flash technology to display videos submitted by users. In 2006, the company was acquired for US$1.65 billion by the makers of ….
Google Maps: This free service was first announced on the Google Blog in February of 2005. It stood out from competitors through its fluid transitions between screen states, delivered by a programming method referred to as ….
Microsoft Vista: After a long production cycle, Microsoft Vista was released in late 2006, with the global release occurring in early 2007. It was the software manufacturer’s first new OS in 5 years, causing much excitement among users of….
Twitter: A micro-blogging service launched in 2006, Twitter allows users to send short messages to their network through SMS, instant messaging, or the web. Bringing the offline experience closer to the online, it further blurs the line between our ”real” and digital lives.