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How the Internet has changed in the past 10 years

Are you prepared for what the Internet will be like in the next 10 years? 

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Image: Unsplash

If you have used social media recently, then you may have come across the latest viral sensation: The Ten-Year Challenge. To celebrate the end of an interesting decade, the online world is looking back at the past 10 years in retrospect. While most users concentrate on the alterations to their physical appearances, this challenge can be applied to a whole host of other subjects, including how the Internet has changed in that timespan.

The Internet was certainly instrumental in 2009. This was the era where the Google Play and Apple’s App stores just launched their web portals. This was the same era where YouTube began its rise to become an online apotheosis. In fact, it was around this time when everyone’s fixation with social media got started. Check Twitter and you will see a common year of users opening their accounts: 2009.

Since then, the Internet has grown into an even bigger cultural juggernaut. Many Internet services have evolved over the past decade and redefined every aspect of our lives. We are now consuming more digital content, we are glued to our screens more than before, and we are discovering innovative ways to connect with each other online.

Let’s go in-depth and explore how the online world has changed in the past 10 years.

Mobile devices

person on phone playing a machine learning game near train tracks

Image: Unsplash

No matter where you go, everyone is connected to their mobile devices nowadays. This widespread phenomenon occurs at the local restaurant, the movie theatre, or even at a funeral. Any time there is a crowd of people, you’ll likely find at least one person going online with a mobile device.

It is estimated that half the world’s population owns a smartphone and mobile web browsing is on par with desktop traffic, which is certainly an intriguing development. In the past ten years, the online marketplace created many products and services to complement our mobile consumption. Whatever you can think of, there is an app for that!

While some might argue this is an unhealthy societal obsession, the reality is that we have a powerful tool in our pockets that can do virtually anything. We can use our phones to communicate instantly, search for the most obscure information, and make various impulsive purchases on a whim. The possibilities online are endless.

What will tomorrow bring? Holograms, perhaps? What does Google or Alexa say?

Big data

t-mobile customer data

Image: T-Mobile

It’s all about the data.

The public and private sectors have more access to personal information than ever before. It is truly remarkable how much data they have on us. Shockingly, a lot of this information was voluntarily given. Hey, remember that 56-page online document from Microsoft or Facebook where they asked for permission to use your data? Don’t blame them if you didn’t read the agreement!

Due to the enormous treasure trove of data at our fingertips, new industries and jobs have been created. From data analytics to data generation, big data has become a lucrative industry over the past 10 years. Your data is the new crude oil or gold mine. It’s just too bad that you are not getting a dividend cheque in the mail. Instead, you are getting a free service, like Facebook or YouTube.

Online streaming

Streaming was around in 2009, but it only started gaining momentum over the past ten years. The popularity of streaming surged due to its increased accessibility with mainstream audiences, such as a large number of TV shows and movies that we can watch online. In addition, we can enjoy high-quality live streams of sporting events, music concerts, and even presidential debates.

Cloud storage

Have you traveled to the cloud? You don’t need an aircraft or a jetpack to do this. You can ascend to the heavens from the comfort of your own home. The prominent rise of cloud technology has been evident in the past 10 years. From a few gigabytes to countless terabytes, cloud storage is astronomical – and it is getting larger as the Internet becomes even more advanced than it is today.

Two of the biggest consumer and enterprise cloud storage services are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Dropbox. Cloud storage is also available in your social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram, allowing users to store images, documents, and videos for future consumption. 

Personal digital assistants

echo dot google home mini black friday knowtechie

Image: KnowTechie

Alexa, what is the weather in Vladivostok, Russia? Siri, what time do the Boston Red Sox play tonight?

In the past decade, all the major technology companies – Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon – proffer their own personal digital assistants. At first, many did not anticipate their ubiquity and penetration in the marketplace. However, personal digital assistants are being seamlessly adapted into our everyday lives. Over the past 10 years, millions of consumers have installed some form of smart technology devices in their homes. 

Many people enjoy the ease and convenience of using personal digital assistants to facilitate the mundane tasks in our lives. Forget the memo pad. Just tell Alexa to add a carton of milk and a package of cookies to your grocery list.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is no longer the exception – it is a rule. Whether you are at the coffee shop or the airport, you now expect the business establishment to offer free Wi-Fi. It is entirely possible to stand on a street corner and connect your device to any number of Wi-Fi connections nearby.

During the last decade, Wi-Fi technology has been steadily improving and adding to our web experience. One incredible development in the Wi-Fi sphere is its installation in everyday products, such as refrigerators, home security systems, and even your instant pot cooker.

Gig economy

Of course, you could find gigs on the Internet a decade ago. Craigslist was usually the go-to source for gigs, whether it is writing a blog post or designing a logo. However, the gig economy on the Internet has gone through massive changes over the past 10 years. There are now dedicated websites and advanced apps that offer countless gig opportunities near you. 

In the last decade, the biggest development in the gig economy has been Uber (or Lyft) and delivery. You can hail a ride on your mobile app, or request somebody to pick up your Subway sandwich. It is remarkable how the gig economy has afforded millions of people the chance to earn a full-time income.

What’s next?

In 2009, you probably thought about how primitive the Internet seemed in 1999. Ten years from now, you will likely think about how basic the Internet was back in 2019. This is the nature of technology, which keeps improving with each era. With 5G on the horizon, the online world will be faster and more connected. Then, there will be discussions about 6G – and beyond. Who knows? Perhaps we can upload our subconscious to an Amazon cloud someday.

As the Internet evolves, it will facilitate the rise of and installation of autonomous vehicles, IoT, smart cities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and everything else you have read about the future in the last couple of years. Are you prepared for what the Internet will be like in the next 10 years? 

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Just another guy who likes to write about tech and gadgets.

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