In 2004, the world as humans know it started to fall into place. Most of the companies and services that they are familiar with today were beginning to leave a mark. Even Facebook was around in 2004.
Wireless technologies, digital music, blogs, and Google all boomed in 2004. But there were also plenty of battles, such as efforts to fight computer viruses. Personal technology was on the rise, with mini devices that flawlessly delivered high-quality visual and audio content.
In 2004, 12.7 of the world population was using the Internet.
Advancements of the Technology in 2004
There were many technological advancements that happened in 2004. We selected what we believe were the most important technologies this year.
Facebook Was Founded
Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard University students Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, and Eduardo Saverin, launched thefacebook.com. In the first 24 hours of the launch, 1,200 Hardvard students sign up for the website.
Even though the membership to this site was limited to students from Harvard, it soon expanded to other colleges, corporations, and then anyone who was 13 or older and had a valid email address.
Facebook goes to become the biggest social networking site on Earth, with over a billion users.
In addition to Facebook, the company Zuckerberg founded as TheFacebook owns Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Together, this force dominates social media and messages to a level never before seen. Besides transforming how humans communicate and connect, Facebook holds information about every human on planet Earth. How it protects, manipulates, and uses that data will be a problem for humans for years to come.
World Of Warcraft Is Launched
World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, was released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2004. This game allows players to choose an avatar and go to a quest in the fantasy world of Azeroth. Players form raiding parties and guilds, as well as romantic and social connections through the chat function of the game.
Since its release, World of Warcraft has been dominant on the market.
Creation of The Hacker Group Anonymous
This loose association of users called Anonymous consists of humans who consider themselves ‘hacktivists.’ The members (Anons) can be recognized by their Guy Fawkes masks. Anons also mask their voice using text-to-speech programs and voice changers.
Their activities consist of digital protests and publicity stunts, like hacking websites of groups like the Motion Picture Association of American and the Church of Scientology. Their targets include governments, government agencies and institutions, and corporations from all over the Earth.
Release of Gmail
The history of Gmail dates back to 2004. It is an advertising-supported and free webmail service that is created by Google. Over its history, Gmail became integrated with services like Google Buzz, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google+, and so on.
Google claims that they’ve internally used the software for several years before it was made public in 2004.
Release of Ubuntu
The first release of Ubuntu was in 2004. Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that is comprised mostly of open-source and free software, and it is based on Debian. Debian is a much older Linux distribution that got its name because the two people who created it were Debra and Ian.
Ubuntu has always been free to download, share and use.
Popularization of The Term Web 2.0
The term “Web 2.0” is popularized in 2004 by Dale Dougherty and Tim O’Reilly at the Web 2.0 Conference.
Web 2.0 refers to websites that emphasize interoperability, participatory culture, user-generated content, and ease of use for end-users.
The original web concept depended heavily on user contributions. However, many websites have been like traditional radio broadcasting or TV, where passive surfers were fed content by providers. The reason for this was partly because the dominant web browser didn’t have the editing capability.
In the early 2000s, several sites started helping users shape and generate content: social networking sites, blogs, wikis, and more. Even though most browsers still didn’t support Web page editing, web 2.0 found different ways to give users a voice, from commenting features to blogging software and wiki.
Mars Expolartion Rovers
Spirit and Opportunity, two robotic geologists, landed on opposite sides of Mars. These robotic explorers traveled for miles on the surface of Mars, made atmospheric observations, and conducted field geology.
Both of the robot geologists lived well beyond their planned lifetime of 90 days. Spirit was active until 2010, while Opportunity was active until 2018. In 2015, Opportunity rolled greater than the distance of a 2-6 mile marathon, breaking the record for interplanetary travel.
Honorable Mentions For 2004
Some other events we don’t want to forget to mention are:
- Apple introduced AirPlay, which allows users to cast video or audio wirelessly from your Mac, iPad, or iPhone to an Apple TV.
- GoPro sold its first camera that used 35mm film.
- Google starts trading on the NASDAQ at $85 a share.
- Digg, a social news website launches. Users vote to “bury” links that they don’t like and “dig up” links they like.
- Hamachi, a VPN service for connecting to private servers and hosting, was introduced.
- Nintendo DS was released.
Roblox, a gaming creation system and online game platform, was launched. It allowed users to program games and to play games that were created by other users.
- iTunes finally made it to Europe.
Did the technology that emerged in 2004 change the world? Some of these changes were on the largest scale possible, while others were more local and involved how humans use technology.
The technological innovations in the past have made it possible for technology to be exploding at an unprecedented rate. Nowadays, humans are getting smarter by the day, and the gadgets they use are becoming increasingly powerful.