End of a decade

With 2010 only a month away, many have been reflecting on the last ten years’ developments in the technology space.

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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  December 1, 2009

The Webby Awards website has listed what it deems to be the top ten most influential internet developments of the last decade. The list includes such developments as Craiglist expanding outside of Chicago to become a global player in terms of online classifieds.

Google AdWords also makes it onto the list, whilst the launch of Wikipedia is mentioned as well. Napster being shut down in 2001 is another memorable moment, whilst the IPO of Google in 2004 helped it financially become the dominant player it is today.

The online video revolution with the likes of YouTube taking advantage of faster bandwidth and the Adobe FlashPlayer also makes it onto the list. In 2006, Facebook and Twitter were launched; the two social networking that extended the way we communicate with each other.

In 2007, the iPhone debuted and paved the way for the multitude of touch screen phones that have graced the mobile market in years to follow. The US presidential campaign in which Barack Obama used the internet to help him win the election, and the political events in Iran that led to Twitter being used a prominent medium to communicate the recent violent protests there also made the list.

Lists, of course, are often subjective – what to leave out; what to leave in are always up for debate. If I had to add something to the list, I’d definitely include the rise of blogs, which has changed the publishing landscape indefinitely.

Despite all these developments however, the likes of the Middle East still has a long way to go in terms of improving its broadband internet capacity. This is an issue that’s been widely reported on, and recently, the poor situation came to the fore when I spoke to somebody who’s involved with Massive Multiplayer Online gaming in the region. He mentioned how his company does, in some parts of the Middle East, rely on the likes of DVDs to be able to distribute their games.

The next ten years will bring many more technological developments in the internet space, but it is up to those in control of the region’s broadband connectivity to ensure that the people here take full advantage of those developments. Hopefully ten years from now people will reflect on how the Middle East caught up to the rest of the world in terms of adequate broadband penetration and connectivity.

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