Do you remember when we were hooked in front of the TV with the latest Harry Potter movie? Or when we walked around and took “selfies” for the first time? The turn of the millennium was an exciting time, and it offered a lot of digital innovations. The Reddit forum and social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook were founded. Xbox 360 got trendy, and we at Softhouse released the popular service “Twin Factor,” which was launched in more than 25 countries, with over 300,000 users – only in Norway.
This year we turn 25 years old, and due to that, we want to highlight some major digital events and innovations from the last 25 years. We have already told you about the years 1996 to 2000, and now we move on focusing on the years 2001 to 2005. What were the major digital innovations we were involved in during these years?
The year Android was born
We start our time travel in 2001. 2001 was our best year so far in Softhouse’s history. We grew by over 80% and had a margin of over 25%. To celebrate, we launched a giant air balloon and flew over Malmö. In the same year, Wikipedia was launched, a multilingual web-based encyclopedia. This was the first time we didn’t have to use books to get quick facts – now you could just go online. Originally, Wikipedia was intended to supplement Nupedia, an online encyclopedia project edited only by selected experts. Wikipedia quickly took over Nupedia and grew into a global project with several different languages. Today it has a total of (breathtaking) 56,202,563 articles with over 117 million unique visitors each month – from the United States alone. Wikipedia has today solidified its position as the most popular online encyclopedia.
You could also start using Wikipedia directly in the Firefox browser or in the Safari search engine (from Apple) that was launched the same year. At the same time, Microsoft made an upgrade from their earlier Windows 98 to Windows XP. In connection with the upgrade, Microsoft also released SharePoint, a web-based platform for document and content management.
2002 was the first time we at Softhouse started working with agile contracts. Through agile contracts, you can prioritize tasks based on business value while delivering and getting paid for capacity and delivery rather than just for hours.
In October 2003, Andy Rubin founded Android, which Google acquired in 2005. Android is an operating system used mainly in smartphones. It was also in 2003 that we grew and opened our second office, in Karlskrona. It was the same year that we were named “Gazelle Company” by Dagens Industri.
In 2003, the programming language C # was also launched. A language influenced by C ++ and Java developed by Microsoft and standardized by ISO standard. ISO is an international organization for national standardization organizations in 164 countries. ISO brings together experts to share knowledge and develop market-relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.
Email marketing took of
Google launched Gmail in 2004, a free email service that today is one of the most popular in the world with over 1.5 billion active users. E-mail usage increased, and now companies could start marketing themselves smoothly through email. Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius founded an “all in one” email marketing platform that they chose to call Mailchimp.
At the same time, the third generation mobile network, 3G, was launched in Sweden. Now the speed in the mobile went faster and made it easier to surf, receive pictures, and stream movies directly to the “telly.” 3G was classified as a “mobile broadband,” and at the same time, the first mobile phones with built-in support for 3G were released. Long before the big boom for mobile applications, we delivered “Twin Factor,” which immediately became a hit. The service was launched in more than 25 countries, and in Norway alone, it was used by 300,000 people during the first year.
An application that is currently available on most smartphones is Google Maps. Sixteen years ago, Google launched Google Maps, a digital map that helps people find. Google Maps was first released only for browsers and is a solution to help people “get from point A to point B.” A few months later, Google Earth was launched, which took 3D views of the planet to our computers. Today, Google Maps is a portal for exploring the world, both digitally and in real life, and is used every month by more than 1 billion people worldwide.
The world’s largest social network was founded
When 3G gained momentum in Sweden, the number of websites increased rapidly. Now anyone had the opportunity to buy their domain. Blogging was popular, and in the same year, WordPress was launched, so it was easier to create a website or blog.
Many Swedes started blogging, and one of them was 14-year-old Isabella “Blondinbella” Löwengrip, who became blog-Sweden’s answer to football’s Zlatan. In 2015, the blog had over one million visitors a week and in 2016, it was named the largest blog in the Nordic region.
More and more people felt the need to be part of some form of social network, and in 2003, LinkedIn and Myspace were launched, two social networks for connecting people over the internet. During its heyday, Myspace was the world’s largest social network. LinkedIn developed a little slower but has today climbed upwards and is one of Sweden’s most prominent social networks.
At the same time, you had the opportunity to talk to people on a camcorder. In 2003, the Swede Niklas Zennström launched the company Skype. Skype was the first to offer the chance to call anyone in the whole world for free; all you needed was the internet. Today, most of us know Skype, and it has been downloaded more than 160 million times.
The social networks gained momentum, and a student at Harvard wanted a community to network with other students in a simple way. In 2004, teenager Mark Zuckerberg launched the site “The Facebook”, a community originally created for Harvard students. Rumors of a new, exciting and exclusive network spread and students from Stanford, Yale, and Columbia were admitted. In 2005, the site changed its name to Facebook. Everyone over the age of 13 had the opportunity to register an account, and Facebook grew at a rocket speed. Last year, the platform had 2.8 billion active users with $ 28 billion in revenue.
More people were hooked on the idea of social networking, but some young guys from the US were more interested in videos than text-based communities and therefore created the YouTube platform. Youtube lets you upload a video and share it with others. The people behind the service are Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim and Steve Chen who were the ones who uploaded the very first clip on Youtube, “Me at the zoo”. Today, Youtube has over 2 billion users and on the top list of accounts with the most subscribers, we find the Swede Felix Kjellberg under the name, PewDiePie. He currently has over 109 million subscribers and is in second place on the top list.
Another community that launched in 2005 was Flickr. The service enables the user to post and share their digital photographs with others in a simple and structured way. In the same year, Reddit was also founded. Reddit is a forum where members submit content to the site such as links, text posts, images or videos which are then voted up or down by other members. In February 2021, Reddit was ranked as the 18th most visited website in the world.
When it comes to taking pictures or filming yourself, most of us have probably heard the term “self-portrait,” which in 2005 was replaced with “selfie”. You hold the camera or mobile phone and take a picture of yourself. Did you know, for example, that every year several people die when they take a selfie. For example, statistics from 2016 show that over 70 people took pictures near railway tracks in India without knowing that an oncoming train was coming (!).
File sharing sites became more and more popular and you could download music “for free”
In 2001, Apple launched its first “Apple iPod”, a portable MP3 player that holds up to 10,000 songs. Now we got the opportunity to listen to Eminem‘s latest hit “Lose Yourself”, Beyoncé‘s “Crazy in Love” or Maroon 5‘s “This Love” in a simple and cool way. In connection with this, the Apple earbuds headphones were also released, which in recent years have been further developed into the popular AirPods, which you have probably seen many walk around with.
That same year, The Pirate Bay revolutionized the creation of a file-sharing site for uploading and downloading music, movies, and pictures. Here you could download lots of songs from all sorts of artists around the world, which is believed to be one of the reasons why sales of CDs began to decline. To counter, Apple launched the iTunes Store. Today, iTunes allows both Mac and PC users to purchase and legally download songs, videos, podcasts, and other media from the web a little more affordable. You can now transfer music or share files from one device to another using Apple’s Airplay. At the same time, Craig Shelburne, John MacFarlane, Tom Cullen and Trung Mai launched the world’s first home surround sound system and wireless smart speakers under the name Sonos.
In November 2005, Microsoft reached a milestone in their most closely watched product launch, the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 is aimed at the living room and a desktop console where you can play video games, listen to music, watch videos, or entertain. The product was launched in Europe, Japan and the USA and sold out in both Europe and the USA at the time of release. During the same period, the Xbox 360’s competitor, Nintendo DS, released a portable game console with games such as Super Mario, Pokemon, and The Legend of Zelda.
In 2004, the game World of Warcraft, also known as WoW, takes us to new worlds. World of Warcraft is an online game where members not only play computer games but also communicate with each other. Now you can enter into an almost limitless virtual world with your character and take part in adventures with millions of other players from all over the world.
Web 2.0 offer software as a service
In 2003, Microsoft launched its web services for Word and Excel. With Microsoft Word, you can create professional-quality documents, reports, letters, and other texts. Unlike a standard text editor, Word has features such as spelling and grammar checker, formatting, image and layout support and much more. With Excel you can make calculations and organize data via columns and rows through different formulas and structures. In 2005, we launched our first “Scrum in 5” which has since been translated into four different languages and together they have been downloaded over 100,000 times.
At the same time, an editing tool for photography and graphics was launched, namely Adobe Photoshop. Today, Photoshop is the premier graphics and photo editing software used by digital imaging professionals. If you were crazy about movies, you could easily edit it in the video editing program Adobe Premiere Pro.
In 2002, GoPro was released, a small digital camera for capturing videos on the go. If you did not want to sit at home and edit photos but instead go out and capture the moments, Nick Woodman now gave you the opportunity. GoPro made it possible to film adventures and sports activities in a new way. You easily attached the GoPro camera to your head and made it easier to film activities such as surfing, mountain biking or swimming.
At the end of 2005, “Web 2.0” was launched, which offered software as a service. The web has finally developed into a stable platform where the delivery of software and services, thanks to new pricing methods and business models, can be offered completely online. Google is the first with the business model to offer the user service for free when it is the advertisers who have to pay for the party. This quickly became a popular pricing model and something that more and more people hooked on. In 2005 we were one of the nominees in the class “Newcomer of the Year” at the big Mobile Gala in Kista, which the magazine “Mobile” held.
In the early 2000s, a lot of exciting things happened that we are grateful for today. This article have included only a few of all the major events that occurred during these five years. At the end of June, we will continue to talk about 25 years of digital innovations and then we highlight what happened between the years 2006 to 2010 – so keep our eyes open!
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