Noughties is digital decadeTechnological developments transform lives

04 January 2010

iPod Nano, Touch, Shuffle and Classic

Technological developments such as social networking technologies, digital music and online video have defined what some see as our most digital decade to date.

Birth of social networking websites

July 2000 saw the launch of Friends Reunited, which aimed to reunite old school and university friends.

It took just 18 months for the site to chalk up 2.5 million members - and Friends Reunited paved the way for other social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace.

By 2007, it was a different story. Competitors had overtaken Friends Reunited in terms of popularity, and ITV sold the site in 2009 for £25 million - significantly less than it was purchased for.

Friends Reunited now has a number of spin-off sites such as genealogy website Genes Reunited.

The Apple iPod has landed

Perhaps one of the biggest launches of the decade was the arrival of the Apple iPod in 2001 in the US.

The digital music player - which attracted dismissive early reviews due to its relatively high price - combined with accompanying software and the iTunes Store (launched in the US in 2003) to transform the face of the music industry.

In April 2005 the digital music revolution was officially recognised when downloads were counted as part of the official music chart for the first time. iTunes has gone on to become the world's largest online digital music store, with billions of songs downloaded.

In 2007, Radiohead offered its single In Rainbows as a digital downloads for customers to pay what they want.

At the end of 2009 social networking and digital music collided when a Facebook campaign successfully encouraged enough people to download a Rage Against the Machine single in order to keep the latest X-Factor single from reaching number one in the UK music chart.

Television changes shape

The humble television has seen a number of transformations over the past decade - notably the launch of Freeview in 2002 and the first European HDTV broadcast (2004).

However, people are increasingly watching video content online following the launch of video-sharing website YouTube (November 2005).

Search giant Google bought the website in 2006 for US$1.65b.

And in 2009, the first 3D TV sets were shown, with broadcaster Sky unveiling plans to start showing programmes in 3D.

Apple iPhone transforms mobile world

Apple again proved one the decade's notable movers. It changed the mobile landscape with the launch of the iPhone in 2008, and has since launched the AppStore allowing third parties to develop applications for the phone. The app store currently has over 100,000 applications, while the iPhone is now available on four networks in the UK.

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