We never assumed that one year, 1995 in particular, could bring so much growth or evolution to humans. If you don’t understand what we are talking about, let us take you on a short trip down memory lane. At what stage of development was the technology in 1995?
Their findings indicated that 18 million households in America had modem-equipped computers in 1995, a significantly higher number compared to 1994 when 11 million homes had such machines. It’s growth at a fast pace for sure.
However, the same study showed that out of all the humans who went online, only 32% said they would miss it “a lot” if it were no longer available. In turn, TV subscribers (54%), newspaper readers (58%), and computer users (63%) had much stronger attitudes and preferences. So, there was more to be developed in this area.
Furthermore, 20% of the users went online every day. Sure, if you compare it to today, it’s a modest online activity. However, at the time, this was a turning point for humankind. Now, let’s elaborate further.
Advancements of the Technology in 1995
Even though technology in 1995 was still in its infancy (compared to today), this was the year that significant changes started happening. 1995 was an exceptionally innovative period, and all the innovations fed off each other. So, turn back the clock with us and take a journey through time. Let’s take a look at the technology timeline in 1995.
In 1995, Newsweek published an article written by Clifford Stroll about whether or not the Internet would catch on, called “The Internet? Bah! Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn’t, and will never be nirvana”. The author started the article with the following quote:
After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries, and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make the government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense?
Humans love reading this article nowadays because even though Stoll was on-target for some things, he was still completely wrong in most of his predictions. The article makes humans wonder how their opinions will look 15 years from now. When a man who was well-informed on the subject and heavily involved in the industry wrote something that turned out to be wrong, how will their predictions of technology look 15 years down the road?
Viewed from today’s perspective, 1995 is thought of as the year that the Internet became commercialized. Even though there were business enterprises online before 1995, several key developments happened this year. The Internet was finally on its way to becoming an everyday reality.
In this wildly innovative and memorable year, many prominent mainstays of the modern digital landscape originated in 1995, including Salon.com, Craigslist, Match.com, eBay, Amazon.com.
The Beginnings of Craigslist
One of the most profitable and vital internet companies was founded in 1995 when Craig Newmark started sending emails to a few of his friends, which featured local events in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other humans asked to be included on the list, and with time, the members grew. The year after, it became a web-based service, and the operation expanded into different categories. In 2000, it further extended to other US and Canadian cities. Now, Craigslist covers around 70 countries on Earth.
Introduction of Dating Apps
In 1995, Match.com by Electric Classifieds, Inc. went live. Match.Com was created as an online matchmaking service designed to provide an easy way for its members to meet singles on the web. Initially, the website charged $9.95 per month.
Match.com helped pioneer the online dating industry, and it is now one of the largest dating sites out there.
In the spring of 1995, Jeff Bezos invited a small group of former colleagues and friends to see the beta version of Amazon’s website. In April 1995, Amazon finally opened up for business as an online bookseller. The company called itself “Earth’s biggest bookstore.”
Within the first time of its launch, the retailer had shipped books to all 40 US states and 45 countries. Sometime after, Amazon morphed into an e-commerce giant, selling everything from live ladybugs to groceries, and it forever changed the way humans shop. Since it opened in 1995, Amazon has become one of America’s predominant retailers.
Bezos was inspired by the Amazon, the largest river on Earth, since he intended to create the world’s biggest bookstore. His motto was “get big fast.”
Online Auction Sites
In 1995, French-Iranian computer scientist Pierre Omidyar established AuctionWeb. After he spent Labour Day weekend on his personal computer at home, writing code, Pierre finally launched a website that was dedicated to bringing together sellers and buyers in an open and honest marketplace. The first item that was listed on the website was a broken laser pointer.
In 1997, the site sold its millionth item, and that same year AuctionWeb was officially renamed eBay.
Today, eBay is a commerce leader with operations in over 30 countries.
The Incorporation of a Mass-Market Medium
Founded in 1994, Yahoo was incorporated in March 1995. Before this date, Yahoo was not a company but merely a college side project. Its founders, Jerry Yang and David Filo, initially called it “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”
By the end of the year, the site received a million hits. Even though the site was founded as a web directory/search engine, it expanded quickly into a full-blown internet service company, offering news, online shopping, social networking, instant messaging, and email, among other things.
Established in 1995, AltaVista was one of the most-used early search engines. AltaVista was able to perform a fast full-text search across many websites, thanks to its hard-performance hardware. It made AltaVista hugely popular, until 2001 when the number of searches done via Google overtook it.
Developed by Microsoft, Windows 95 was created as a part of the company’s Windows 9x family of operating systems. Being the successor to Windows 3.1x, this version was more oriented toward consumers. The release of Microsoft Windows introduced concepts like Notifications Area, Taskbar, Start Menu, and Desktop, which nowadays we are all familiar with.
If you first browsed the Internet in 1995, most probably, you used Internet Explorer. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 1.0 as an extra-cost add-on on their operating system. Compared to other browsers at the time, Internet Explorer’s features were considered limited, and the program occupied only 1 MB of disk space.
The Wiki Software
The first user-editable website, or the first wiki, was launched in 1995. Programmer Ward Cunningham had one idea in mind, to allow programmers to exchange ideas easily. He initially thought of calling it QuickWeb since the website was meant to be quickly editable by its users, but he changed his mind. The first wiki was called WikiWikiWeb, but it was later renamed to WikiBase.
Secure Sockets Layer
In 1994, Netscape developed Version 1.0 of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, but it was never released since it had severe security flaws. The first official release of SSL was in 1995. The SSL provides data encryption as a protection layer for passwords and other sensitive information against hackers or cybercriminals.
PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor
In 1994, Rasmus Lerdorf conceived PHP or Personal Home Pages. Rasmus used the non-released versions of PHP on his homepage to keep track of who was seeing his online resume. Then, in 1995, PHP was released to the public. PHP is a server-side interpreted scripting language or a tool for creating web pages that work with databases.
That same year, the creator expanded upon PHP and eventually dropped the PHP name. Today, we refer to the tools as FI, which is an acronym of Forms Interpreter.
Mp3 File Extension
Released in July 1995, the .mp3 file extension allowed users to compress files and reduce their size while not harming the content quality.
Introducing “Spying Tools”
The first use of the term spyware happened in 1995, along with the authorization of the first computer network wiretap.
During this year, we also witnessed the FBI’s arrest of the computer hacker Kevin Mitnick.
Publication of HTML 2.0
The HTML and HTML+ drafts expired the previous year. The IETF developed an HTML Working Group, which created the first HTML specification named HTML 2.0.
IBM developed Deep Blue, the first parallel computing system for playing chess. The same year, the “Deep Blue prototype” took part in the 8th World Computer Chess Championship.
The First VoIP Software
VocalTec released InternetPhone, the first-ever commercial VoIP application. VocalTec charged per-minute fees and registration but still saved customers money on long-distance and international calling rates.
The First-Ever E3
The Entertainment Software Association organized the first-ever Electronic Entertainment Expo, a video game trade event in 1995. The event took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
In 1995, Nintendo developed a 32-bit tabletop portable video game called Virtual Boy. Virtual Boy was marketed as the first console capable of showing stereoscopic “3D” graphics. However, Virtual Boy was a commercial failure due to lack of true portability, unimpressive stereoscopic effect, and high price. Stereoscopic technology in video game consoles resurged in later years for more success.
Other Honorable Mentions
This niche saw significant progress with many other innovations over the year. Some of the main events were:
- “Be” released its product – the BeBox and the operating system Be OS;
- The DVD format was introduced as an upgrade of the CD in terms of storage capacity. The DVD format was quick to replace VHS tapes as the primary consumer digital format;
- Pacific Data Images’ graphic pioneers designed Homer Simpson’s 3D animated form;
- John Karidis designed an automatically expanding full-sized keyboard;
- Sony released the first PlayStation;
- The US Air Force and the CIA introduced the MQ-1 Predator drone, and
- The first issue of Fast Company was released.
Retrospectively, 1995 was a year of innovation and progress. However, the ideas that emerged in 1995 have been developing for years.
1995 brought change. Some would say it was like human engineering. Humans started to see things differently and act like never before. Many companies went public, even though they were preparing their ideas years back.
And it was all pretty clear – the idea was born!