Yahoo Is 20: The 20 Best Tech Products of the Last 20 Years

March 6, 2015 • Businesses

Chief Editors comments…

Today 6th of March Ghana celebrates her 58 years of attaining independence and is poorer.. Reading through what some technology entrepreneurs have done, I think Ghana would be better off if we were ‘colonised’ by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or Steve Job (RIP) of Apple

Now read…

Twenty years is a long time anywhere; in the tech industry, it’s an eon. Over the lifetime of Yahoo, we’ve seen hundreds of companies, thousands of products, and hundreds of thousands of websites and services appear and then disappear.

Yet a handful stand out above the rest. These are the products and technologies that have changed our lives in significant ways. Some had an enormous impact in their day and but failed to survive over the long haul. But most have stood the test of time and continue to affect how we live today.

Here are our picks for the 20 most important products to emerge since the birth of the Internet age

1995: Windows 95

Microsoft951995 was an awesome year for the high-tech industry — and not just because it’s when Yahoo was born. It’s the year Amazon sold its first book, eBay held its first auction, and Hotmail offered the first free Web email account.
But Microsoft’s iconic PC operating system truly captured the moment. Windows 95 not only made personal computers much easier to use; it even made an über-nerd like Bill Gates seem cool, if only briefly.
1996: Palm Pilot 1000
PalmPilotPalm is no more, but its first product, the Pilot, was what the Apple Newton wanted to be — an easy way to put your contacts and calendar in your pocket, jot quick notes using handwriting recognition that actually worked, and then sync the notes to your computer.
Every smartphone ever made owes a debt to the Palm Pilot.
1997: Netflix
NetFlixWhat started as a humble DVD delivery service has morphed into a streaming-video behemoth. Netflix almost singlehandedly put Blockbuster out of business, and now it’s taking on Hollywood directly with its  own original programming. Next in its sights:  the cable monopoly.
1998: Google
GoogleSearchRemember when Google was just the search engine with the funny name? Within a few years, Google became the primary way that people found what they were looking for on the Web; now it’s a data-collecting colossus with ambitions that  extend well beyond Earth.
1999: TiVo
Once upon a time, TV broadcasters controlled what you could watch and when you could do it. But  TiVo  put viewers back in control of the boob tube, making it easy to watch shows when it was convenient and to skip quickly through commercials. Coach potatoes have never looked back, though they continue to fast-forward.
2000: Wi-Fi

WifiiSetting up a home network to share a fast Internet connection used to be a nightmare. Now it takes about 10 minutes; thank you, Wi-Fi. Though the 802.11 wireless spec was introduced in 1997, it wasn’t until 2000 that the first wireless routers showed up in people’s homes. Now they’re in 2 billion of them, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.

2001: Apple iPod

iPodPortable MP3 players had been around for more than three years before Apple introduced the iPod, but hardly anyone remembers that. With its slender size, then-enormous 5 GB hard drive, and unique click-wheel interface, the iPod was a different beast entirely — inspiring millions of fanboys to flock to Apple’s side. More than 350 million iPods later, they’re still there.
2002: iRobot Roomba

iRobotThe first commercially available domestic robot, the Roomba vacuum cleaned your carpets, terrified the pets, and then returned to its charging station when it ran out of juice. Since then, iRobot has introduced machines for cleaning hardwood floors, gutters, and pools. When the robots eventually take over, they will regard Roomba the way humans think of Elvis.


2003: The iTunes Store

iTunesThe introduction of the iTunes Store in April 2003 changed media forever, offering.a simple and affordable way to obtain digital music without having to rip CDs or illegally swap files. TV shows and movies appeared on iTunes two years later, mobile apps three years after that. Now virtually every major tech company has its own app store, and media is consumed à la carte and on demand.

2004: Facebook

FbookMark Zuckerberg didn’t invent social networks — heck, he didn’t really invent Facebook (see “The Social Network”). But he helped make social nets the primary way many people in the developed world connect to friends and family. With 1.4 billion active users daily, Facebook is now the largest “nation” on the planet, surpassing the populations of China and India. That’s a lot of likes.

2005: YouTube

BuTubeefore YouTube, you needed studios, agents, managers, dumb luck, and at least a little talent to become a video star. Now all you need is a computer and enough followers to go viral. YouTube revolutionized how we consume and produce video content. YouTube’s 1 billion users now upload more than 300 hours of video every minute.


2006: Twitter

TwittWhen this online messaging service launched in July 2006, no one would have predicted that it would become the primary source for real-time commentary on everything from presidential debates to live sporting events, let alone help to topple governments. Twitter now brings 288 million people the world in 140 characters or less.

2007: Apple iPhone

iPhoneApple didn’t invent smartphones either. It just made them cool — and that was more than enough. Among other things, the iPhone was the first successful device with a multitouch screen, and it inspired Google to push its own competing smartphone operating system, Android.


2008: Roku

ARokus one of the first set-top boxes to stream Internet-based shows directly to your HDTV — no cable or satellite subscription required — Roku launched the era of cord cutting. Now Amazon, Apple, Google, and smart-TV makers offer similar streaming devices. For our money, though, Roku still bests them all.

2009: Minecraft

With its 1980s-aMineCraftrcade-style graphics and near total lack of traditional gameplay, “Minecraft” is the least gamelike game on the planet. It’s also a global phenomenon, with more than  100 million fans  of every age playing it on every conceivable device. That’s a  big reason why Microsoft acquired Mojang , makers of “Minecraft,” for more than $2 billion last year.
2010: Apple iPad

Apple diPadid invent the tablet. At least, it invented what we now think of as tablets — sleek, app-driven devices that come alive with a swipe of our fingers. Since then, the iPad has been updated eight times, sold more than 225 million units, and inspired a slew of wannabes running Android and Windows.

2011: Nest Learning Thermostat

When historiNestans look back at the moment when our homes began to be “smart,” they’ll point to the Nest — the first thermostat to connect to the Internet, automatically adjust settings based on your habits, and help trim your heating bills. Small wonder  Google bought the company for $3.2 billion.
2012: Tesla Model S
The  Model S  is hardly the first all-electric car — or even the first all-electric Tesla vehicle — but it’s the only one to get anyone’s heart racing, thanks to its white-knuckle performance, state-of-the-art technology, and dead-sexy appearance. Besides winning a slew of industry awards, the lithium-ion-powered Model S proved that environmentally responsible transportation isn’t just for tree huggers.  
2013: 3D printers
Affordable 3D printers like the  Makerbot Replicator Mini  ($1,375) and the  Printrbot Simple Maker’s Kit  ($349) let you design and print simple plastic objects. More expensive models let you print objects made from metal, plaster, and even  chocolate . One day, when you order something online, you’ll just download code for it and print it at home.
2014: Drones
Quick, up in the sky — is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a unmanned aerial vehicle, better known as a drone. Last year brought entire flocks of flying camera-wielding robots, such as the  DJI Phantom 2  and  3DRobotics’ Iris+ , that were more than just toys. Now anyone can have an eye in the sky – at least, until the government bans it or someone shoots it down.
By Dan Tynan


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