The ways the web has changed our lives from 2002 to 2022
Do you remember the days when Amazon was an online bookshop and many of us logged on to look at the fish tank at Netscape headquarters? Things have changed quite a lot since then. In 2022, using the internet is something most of us do every single day, often not even giving a thought to the fact we are connected. Weather checks, socializing, work, creating content, and catching up with friends are all done online. Furthermore, we look to the online world for entertainment, especially in an on-demand format.
Looking back at the last 20 years, the change has been significant. Many things we would have never thought possible, such as ordering groceries with our voices via an app, or streaming business meetings with colleagues on different continents, have become everyday things. Here are some of the most significant changes.
Gambling was once done in person, in casinos, betting shops, or locations where slot machines were allowed. However, in 2022, this is no longer the case. The online gambling sector will surpass more than $117 billion in revenue in the next few years, with more players logging on than ever before.
There is a considerable choice available for players depending on their interests, including casinos, table games, and a large and varied selection of slots online. These options include video slots that tackle every theme and topic, from music to film. They also have a wide selection of bonuses and incentives with jackpots of every imaginable size. The choice is vast and is leading to a significant influx of online gamblers who enjoy being able to play their favorite games on-demand and on the go.
In 2022, we find that gambling has become round-the-clock with greater flexibility and choice for those that want it.
Streaming films and music
Gone are the days of waiting for our favorite film or show to be screened on TV because, in 2022, everything is on-demand. Online streaming services are one of the leading forms of online entertainment, with hundreds of millions worldwide. For example, Netflix has more than 222 million subscribers, followed by Amazon Prime with 200 million and Disney+ with 116 million. Other services such as Paramount Plus and Hulu have hundreds of millions more combined.
Music streaming is also the number one way to listen to music, with Spotify leading the way with 350 million users and 150 million subscribers. YouTube, a video streaming platform, has 2 billion users but less in terms of paid subscribers. Other popular music streaming services include Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Tidal, Tencent Music, and SoundCloud, with many other regional options.
Communicating with friends
The way we engage with each other has completely changed in recent years. Not just friends that live further afield, but even colleagues and those that live nearby. We use the internet to communicate with people we live with and even when they are in the same room. Instant messaging services like Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and Signal have revolutionized how we interact with people in our lives- both personally and in a work capacity.
We can make phone calls, send instant messages, share images, videos, and documents, and even make video calls in real-time and for free. There are also platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meets that provide video conferencing for free and with paid subscriptions. All of these programs are available for both computer and mobile devices, meaning we have never been more connected than in 2022. These technologies have helped bridge gaps caused by time, distance, and even economic circumstances, by making digital communication accessible to as many people as possible.
Shopping and browsing
Did you know that in 2021, 2.14 billion of us shopped online, equivalent to more than a quarter of the world’s population? This figure is expected to rise in 2022 as more people get access to the internet, and the internet becomes faster. Nowadays, you can buy anything you need online. Real estate, furniture, clothes and beauty products, items for the home, and of course, food and groceries. There are applications specifically for shopping, or you can purchase by way of a conventional website.
It is even possible to order items via voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri with payments linked to previously saved payment information. So flourishing is the online shopping and eCommerce sector that some high streets worldwide have to adapt their strategy to a more online focus to survive. In the future, we expect more new technologies to further enhance the online shopping experience, such as VR and AR and, of course, the metaverse. Some years from now, we could see some shops become obsolete as people look towards fast, even same-hour delivery services and shopping via social media.
The last few years have taught us a lot about adapting to an online world, which was particularly noticeable in the education and learning sector. While distance learning has been a thing for many years, it has become more widespread over the last 24 months. In 2022, it is possible to study for most degrees, masters, and even PhDs online without needing to attend in person or with minimal attendance. This has been facilitated by live streaming and various online programs such as task managers, presentation software, and sites like Google, which provide working solutions in the cloud.
Learning a new skill or getting a new qualification online has never been easier, thanks to various technological solutions that make it both accessible and low cost. Online learning tends to be cheaper than in-person, and there is an ever-growing amount of free resources online on almost any topic imaginable. This has significantly improved the education system and made it much easier for people to learn, get qualified, and expand their skill sets in their own time and on their terms, overcoming geographical boundaries and time constraints.
Checking the news
Once upon a time, newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio were the main ways we consumed the news. This meant the news only came out at certain times in the day, and there were often cases where significant events did not reach the masses until hours or even days later. With the internet, that has all changed. News can be streamed in real-time, web radio broadcasts on every topic from around the world, and news portals keep us updated with a constant stream of information. It has never been easier to stay informed than in 2022.
So vast and prolific is the sector that there are even apps that bring together news for us, filtered by topic, so we make sure we do not miss out on what interests us while not being overwhelmed by other issues.
As technology develops along with our demand for progress and efficiency, we expect more of our lives to be managed online in the coming years. In 10 or 20 years from now, who knows where we will end up!