In 1998, 3.6% of people were using the Internet. According to the Paw Research Center, out of the people who weren’t using the internet, 57% said they don’t worry about missing out on something by not going online. 22% said they don’t worry that much, 10% said they worry a fair amount, and 7% said they worry a great deal about missing out on something by not using the internet.
The critical force behind the transformation of technology in 1998 was rapid technological progress, which was driven by increasingly efficient business practices, a productive scientific community, and the growing role of information and communication technologies.
In technology in 1998, numerous companies were selling internet products worth billions of dollars. Some companies were offering software and hardware for internet-based systems, while others were establishing online stores.
Advancements of the Technology in 1998
Even by the headline-grabbing and fast-paced technology standards, 1998 was a busy year for the tech world. Following are a few important events in technology in 1998.
Launch of the iMac
The iMac, or the iMac G3, was released in 1998 under the leadership of Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple the year before this.
With its design, the iMac ended up reviving the PC industry. It had an egg-shaped or gumdrop look and a translucent colored plastic case. The mouse and the keyboard were also in translucent color. Thanks to its unique color and shape, the iMac rooted itself in 1990s pop culture.
The launching of the iMac was a crucial step in Apple’s comeback from near-bankruptcy. This PC was an enormous success for Apple. It managed to influence the product designs of competitors and revitalize the company.
Release of StarCraft
In 1998, Blizzard Entertainment released StarCraft, a military science fiction video game. StarCraft raised the bar for the gaming industry, and it was a really important step in developing real-time strategy games.
The First Google Doodle
The first Google Doodle was designed by the co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. It honored the edition of the long-running annual Burning Man event in the US.
It was meant to inform Google’s users that if the servers crash, Google won’t be available to tend to them because they’ll be off to the festival.
The design features a stick figure that resembled the festival’s logo, and it was placed behind the second ‘O’ in Google.
Google Doodle has now become an important project for the company and is now used to honor and celebrate issues, people, and holidays from all over the world.
The First Live Interspecies Internet Chat
Speaking about technology in 1998, the first-known live interspecies internet chat was held.
Koko was a surrogate mother to orphaned kittens and a student of American Sign Language. Koko, alongside an AOL chat facilitator and her trainer, Penny Patterson, participated in the chat. 8,000 AOL subscribers joined the chat.
Release of Furby
The Furby, an electronic robotic toy, was released by Tiger Electronics.
The toy resembles an owl or tiger, and it communicates with other Furbies nearby by using the infrared port between its eyes.
Its creators, Caleb Chung and Dave Hampton, spent nine months making the Furby, and an additional nine months were spent designing it.
The initial price was $35, and the toy sold very well. During the Christmas period in 1998, the price went as high as several hundred dollars.
This was the first successful attempt to sell a robot that is domestically aimed. A new Furby begins speaking “Furbish,” a special language that Furbies communicate in. Over time, Furby starts learning English words and phrases.
Introduction of Open Diary
Open Diary, a blogging platform that allows community members to comment on each other’s writing, was introduced in 1998. This was one of the first tools that enabled regular people to access blogging, whether they had any experience in programming or not.
Development of Maya
Maya is one of the best software used for 3D animation and modeling.
It was released in 1998 as an animation product based on code from previous systems created by Alias and Wavefront. Graphics and video game industries quickly adopted Maya.
The CIH Emerged
When talking about technology in 1998, the computer virus CIH, also known as Spacefiller or Chernobyl, emerged.
This virus was created by a student at the Tatung University in Taiwan called Chen Ing-Hau. He claimed that he made the virus as a test against the claims of some antivirus software developers for antiviral efficiency.
The CIH destroyed vulnerable systems, the BIOS, and overwrote critical information on the infected system drives.
The estimated commercial damage was one billion dollars, and it is believed that sixty million computers worldwide were infected.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, was passed by the US Congress in 1998. This act aimed to stiffen the punishment for copyright violations on the internet.
The DMCA has influenced similar legislation in many countries around the world.
“Digerati” And “Spam” Added to The Oxford Dictionary
Until 1998, the words “digerati” and “spam” weren’t considered official words. This was the year that the internet-related words entered the Oxford dictionary. Some other computer terms and phrases added to the Oxford dictionary were: Bill Gates, emoticon, and the abbreviation LOL.
Other Honorable Mentions
Several other events happened in technology in 1998 and were important for the development of technology. These events in technology in 1998 are:
- Saehan’s MPMan, the world’s first pocket mp3 player, was launched
- Microsoft Windows 98 was officially released
- MPEG-4, a method of defining compression of visual and audio digital data, was first introduced
- Half-life, a video game with a seamless narrative, realistic gameplay, and great graphics, was released
- America Online buys Netscape
- Amazon purchased IMDb for roughly $55 million
Technology allows us easy access to information, services, and products. It helps to ensure safety, enables instant interaction and communication, saves time, and improves the overall quality of our lives.
Nowadays, we have everything they need at our fingertips, and our lives are far easier and more convenient. Although technology is often taken for granted, we need to understand that all of the benefits they enjoy from technology are a culmination of hundreds of years of scientific breakthroughs and progress.
If you want to know more about how technology progressed throughout the years, make sure you check out our knowledge base section!