20 Ways Technology and the Internet Have Changed - 2006 vs 2016

31 October, 2016

Having recently celebrated our 10th anniversary here at Evoluted, we thought we’d look back on how the internet – and technology in general – has changed over the past decade.

The facts we’ve complied make for truly fascinating reading and it’s remarkable to think how much the tech world has changed in such a relatively short space of time.

An Evolution In Search & User Browser Habits

In the space of a decade, search engines have changed immeasurably. Google, in particular, has become infinitely more powerful.

Many people use Google Chrome to input search queries, yet back in 2006, the browser hadn’t even been released – and it wouldn’t be for another 2 years.

Fast forward to 2016 and Chrome is now used for a large proportion of the astonishing 63,000 searches made every second through Google’s search engine (as reported by Search Engine Land).

2006 vs 2016 search engines

As integral to Google’s make-up as organic search, Adwords has also gone through major changes. In 2006, the advertising platform was in its 6th year – and it‘s only gone from strength-to-strength since. Google now makes more than $100 million a day through Adwords.

Whilst YouTube was already fairly big a decade ago, it has also grown at an astonishing rate. According to Business Insider, the Pokemon Theme music video was the top-viewed video back in 2006, with just under 7 million views.

Compare that with 2016 – where Psy’s Gangnam Style holds the title with a staggering 2.5 billion views – and the change is astounding.

Another search engine that has seen mass change is Internet Explorer. Ten years ago, around 65% of internet users were running Internet Explorer, yet in 2016 that figure has dropped as low as 5%, according to w3schools.

The Unstoppable Rise of Social Media

Over the past ten years, for better or worse, social media has forever changed the way humans interact. Some of us can still remember what life was like before it though!

In 2006, for example, Twitter was only just launching, whilst it would be another 4 years before the launch of Instagram. A decade later, Twitter has reached more than 300 million monthly active users, whilst Instagram has more than 500 million users and generates more than 60 million daily picture uploads.

These stats but pale in comparison to Facebook though, which is firmly established as the social king. Back in 2006, the platform was already progressing. It had been running for 2 years and according to The New York Times, it had reached in impressive valuation of $500 million.

2006 vs 2016 social media

Yet feast your eyes on this – Facebook’s value has now increased by close to 70,000% in the ten years since to reach a reported $350 billion valuation.

In addition, Facebook didn’t run a Messenger app back in 2006, whilst it also didn’t even have instant messaging integrated. Back then, all correspondence was left on a user’s ‘wall’.

Fast forward to 2016 and Facebook Messenger is very much alive. Mark Zuckerberg reports on his Facebook page that the service receives in excess of 900 million monthly users.

Advances in Cloud Storage

2006 vs 2016 storage

In the world of technology, few areas have seen so much change as the way in which we store our documents, photos and more. Given it’s prevalence in today’s business landscape, it’s amazing to think that back in 2006, Dropbox was still a year away from being launched.

That fact is made even more remarkable when you consider that in March 2016, Dropbox announced that they’d surpassed 500 million users.

iCloud is another piece of cloud software that didn’t exist ten years ago. It wouldn’t actually be announced for another 5 years from 2006. In February 2016 though, Tech Crunch reported that iCloud successfully surpassed 782 million users.

Instant Access to Films and TV

The sums involved in today’s sports market are truly astonishing - nowhere more so than in football. A decade ago, BT TV was being launched to rival Sky, but there were plenty of people who didn’t believe it would be possible.

Yet in 2016, BT have well any truly broken Sky’s monopoly of the UK sports market – and have exclusive access to the broadcasting rights for the Champions League - which is the biggest competition in world club football. Meanwhile, both providers have also launched 4K Ultra HD services.

2006 vs 2016 television

Another area which has seen radical change is the consumer film and video game market. Back in 2006, Blockbuster was a huge part of the UK high-street market. By 2013 though, it was left closing its last stores as on-demand services and online purchases revolutionised the way in which games and movies were accessed by the public.

A big player in this movement has been Netflix, which has become such a recognised part of the film and TV landscape. Given that it wouldn’t actually be launched in the UK until 2012, it’s incredible to think that more than a quarter of UK households now subscribe to the service. (stat taken from a report in The Guardian in June 2016).

Big Changes in the Mobile Landscape

2006 vs 2016 mobile

The mobile and tablet landscape has also moved on significantly in the space of a decade. In 2006 for example, it would be another 4 years before the first iPad was even launched. There have since been countless releases and upgrades, with the iPad Pro launching in March 2016.

Even more incredibly, the first iPhone hadn’t even been released in 2006. Look to 2016 and there have now been 10 different iPhone models released. In Q3 of 2016, Apple sold 40.4 million iPhone units – which generated revenue around the $24 billion mark.

It would be amiss not to give Whatsapp a mention too, especially when you consider that it wouldn’t even be created until 2010. In February 2016, Whatsapp reported that their total monthly active users had surpassed the 1 billion mark.

Nintendo and Sony Make Advances

2006 vs 2016 gaming

Gaming giants Sony and Nintendo have both made serious advances between 2006 and 2016. Nintendo, for example, was just releasing the Wii a decade ago. On 22nd October 2016 though, they were busy announcing the impending release of their new Switch model.

For Playstation, the PS3 was being launched in 2006 and it would go on to prove extremely successful. This would subsequently be topped by Sony’s follow-up model though. The PS4 has now been available for 3 years, with a second model released in the interim.

Spotify Surpasses 100 Million Users

We couldn’t do an article on tech changes without giving mention to the world of music subscription. The changes the music marketplace has undergone are vast in their makeup, with Spotify and Apple Music now dominating the landscape.

Incredibly, in 2006, Spotify didn’t exist – whilst Apple Music wouldn’t even be created for another 9 years.

2006 vs 2016 music

In 2016 though, Spotify has over 100 million users, with Wired reporting that the service has an estimated worth of over $800 billion.

Apple are catching up too. They reported in June 2016 at WWDC that they’d reached 15 million paid subscribers.

Written by Sean

As chief crafter of copy, Sean’s flair for writing engaging content continues to prove integral to our internal and client marketing activity. With more than 5 years' digital experience, he joined Evoluted back in 2015. He spends his days managing SEO strategy, producing content and assisting Evoluted’s clients.

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