Best of the Decade
Best Products, Services, and Technologies of the Decade
Is Google psychic or what? From the very beginning, the search engine has generated uncannily accurate results to search queries. It does so by using a storied (and secret) algorithm.
We've had our eye on Google for some time now. In fact, in November 1999 we awarded the fledgling company a Technical Excellence Award.
Ever since, Google has been a phenomenon unmatched. The scrappy search engine attracted a loyal following of Internet users who found they could quickly find exactly the information they wanted. It became the world's largest search engine on July 11, 2000, with one billion items in its index. (Today, Google declines to disclose the size of its index, only saying "over the past year, we increased our index by billions of documents.")
2. Apple iPhone
Talk about disruptive technology. The Apple iPhone has forever transformed our expectations of a cell phone. This 4.8-ounce wonder lets us make phone calls (arguably its weakest feature), browse Web sites, dispatch e-mail, watch and shoot video, take photos, and play games.
Thousands of people camped out to be among the first to own the device when it hit stores on June 29, 2007. Subsequent releases—the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS—were slightly less frenzied, but the device itself just keeps getting better.
Its bright multitouch screen, snap-simple interface, unmatched media player, and ample storage for data like contacts and calendars make it equally fun and essential. With the iPhone, Apple designers once again proved that a slick design and an intuitive interface are just as important as useful technology.
3. Apple iPod
If you're like many of us, you remember the first time you held an Apple iPod in your hand and marveled that this beautifully designed MP3 player could store 1,000 songs.
The iPod, which debuted Oct. 23, 2001, was no one-hit wonder. The original 5GB device gave way to the mini, the shuffle, the nano, the touch, and the classic, whose 160GB hard drive can store an astounding 40,000 tunes.
The first iPod was a marvel of minimalist industrial design. Its scroll wheel redefined usability for handheld digital audio devices, with an interface that enables you to easily manage a library of thousands of tracks. Over the decade, the iPod became much more than an audio device, adding a color LCD and the ability to store calendars, contacts, photos, podcasts, videos, and games.
While Facebook was prefaced by Friendster and MySpace, neither attained the towering influence of Facebook. Today, the site counts some 350 million active users and accounts for 25 percent of page views in the United States.
Facebook, which went live February 2004, is now the second most-visited Web site in the world—and there's plenty to do when you get there. Members share personal trivia, likes and dislikes, videos, virtual gifts, and links to news stories. Facebook is the Web's largest photo-sharing site, with more than 2.5 billion photos uploaded each month. Businesses and organizations now connect with customers and members via Fan pages.
Best of the Decade - Wi-Fi
In 2000 Americans started unplugging from broadband modems—it was an unwired revolution, enabling us to work from home, from the road, on the train, and even at 35,000 feet. Wi-Fi also made the Internet an anytime, anywhere source of information and entertainment.