Do you remember how the internet looked in 1997? If you don’t, no worries. “The Kids’ Guide to the Internet,” an instructional video from Diamond Entertainment Corporation that lasts 27 minutes, can help you remember.
The video includes a suburban family, the Jamisons, that explains the basics of evolutionary technology. Dad, mom, Peter, and Dasha cover different topics, from sending an email to getting online.
During the video, many antiques make appearances, like America Online, the old Microsoft Windows logo, the Netscape browser, and dial-up.
Make sure you watch this video and jog your memory of what technology looked like and what the attitude of humans towards it used to be like. Clearly, technology has developed in remarkable ways, and as a society, humans have become much more comfortable with the presence of technology in different aspects of their lives.
According to the Internet World Stats, 1.7% of humans used the internet in 1997.
Advancements of the Technology in 1997
The year 1997 offered some cutting-edge technology, or at least, cutting-edge technology at the time.
Let’s travel back 25 years into the past to relive the days when the CD was king, the internet was young, and humans were fascinated by cordless phones. Following is the technology timeline in 1997.
Release of The First Grand Theft Auto Video Game
Grand Theft Auto, created by Mike Dailly and David Jones, was released in 1997. The video game is set in Liberty City, which is a fictional city built after New York. The game rewarded points to players for creating chaos like completing missions and running down pedestrians.
Grand Theft Auto allowed players to do what they wanted in Liberty City by using a free-form structure. It was announced that the game would be released for the Nintendo 64 platform, but it never was.
The combination of challenging and intricate levels, and the ability to scour around the city freely, made Grand Theft Auto one of the most popular and innovative video games of the 90s.
Introduction of Winamp
In 1997, Dmitry Boldyrev and Justin Frankel’s company released Winamp, a media player for Microsoft Windows. With the release of Winamp, MP3s popularity began to rise rapidly.
In November 1997, there were thousands of MP3s created by independent artists that they offered for free on the website mp3.com.
The First Battery-Electric Vehicle
Honda EV Plus was released in 1997.
The Honda didn’t use lead-acid batteries but instead used a nickel-metal hydride battery that could go 125 miles between charges.
California drivers were the first who got to experience this vehicle. The Honda EV plus was available only for lease, and you had to take the Honda back once the lease was up. When humans took the cars back to Honda, they were decommissioned and ultimately destroyed.
The reason for the failure of the Honda EV plus was the demand was low, while the EVS were expensive to develop and maintain.
The First DVD Player
In 1997, Sony Corporation in Japan, in partnership with Pacific Digital Company from the US, created the first DVD player. Even though some manufacturers announced that DVD players would be available in 1996, it turned out that these estimates were too optimistic.
The cost of the first available DVD players started at $600, and it went over $1000. Some years after the initial launch, more specifically in 2003, there were thousands of models of DVD players available, and their price was under $50.
Launch of Netflix
The video-rental and media-streaming company Netflix Inc., or Netflix, was founded in 1997. The company was founded by American entrepreneurs Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings.
The two considered VHS tapes but later rejected the idea was it was too delicate to ship and too expensive to stock. When the DVDs were first introduced in the US, Randolph and Hastings tested the concept of renting and selling DVDs by mailing a compact disk to Hastings’s house, and the DVD came undamaged.
The First Black Hat Conference
In 1997, the first Black Hat conference was held in Las Vegas.
The Black Hat conference is a conference about computer security that provides security briefings, training, and consulting to government agencies, corporations, and hackers worldwide. It brings together a variety of humans interested in information security, including security professionals, hackers, executives, and non-technical individuals.
Google.Com Was Registered
According to the organization that regulates domain names, Icann, google.com was registered in 1997. However, Google refers to 1998 as its birthday, since it was then when Google launched its website.
Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Sergey Brin and Larry Page while there were Ph.D. candidates at Stanford University. There was also an unofficial third creator, Scot Hassan, who left before Google was officially founded. Hassan was the original lead programmer.
The original name of the search engine was “BackRub,” but eventually, they changed the name to Google.
Honorable Mentions For 1997
In this year, there were several other events that we should mention. These events are:
- Steve Jobs returns to Apple Inc. as a consultant after the company purchases his software start-up NeXT.
- Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM’s Deep Blue, which was the first time a computer beat a chess grandmaster in a match. In 1996, they played the first match in Philadelphia, and it was won by Kasparov. The second one was held in 1997 in New York City, and Deep Blue won.
- Microsoft released Excel 97.
- Sony introduced the Sony Mavica MVC-FD5, the first digital camera of the series Mavica.
- GoDaddy Inc, an American web hosting company and domain registrar, was incorporated.
The timeline above is the beginning of an effort to capture both the major and minor moments that have shaped technology and the internet since the beginning of time.
These technologies developed along separate paths for different purposes. However, true visionaries saw the possibility for the sum of the parts in the broader societal context!