Technology has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last 20 years. It has become unfathomable to imagine life without wifi or Google or smart phones, yet these were just in the beginning stages of development when Domain opened its doors in 1997. Google didn’t even exist yet! That’s right. Google was incorporated on September 4, 1998, an entire year after Domain Computer Services. Despite the drastic changes in technology over the last 20 years, Domain has remained relevant and innovative, with an eye to the future.
In 1997, you were lucky if you had one computer at home, with only a third of US households owning one. Now the average American household has 5 devices, from smartphones and tablets to computers and other streaming media devices.
Remember those flat gray boxes? While Microsoft has changed many things in their operating system through the years, Windows 95 introduced features that have stood the test of time including the Start menu, taskbar, and Windows Explorer, now called File Explorer. Ten releases later, some more successful than others, Microsoft has now abandoned their traditional operating system release model, never to release another version.
Screen technology has completely revolutionized the way we see everything from our everyday shopping list to world culture. The jpeg had only been around for 5 years and the founders of Youtube hadn’t even met yet. LCD monitors were just beginning to compete in pricing with CRT monitors. The average desktop user had a CRT monitor with a resolution of only 640 x 480. By comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus with only a 5.5″ screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
The boxes don’t look that different, but the difference in connectivity has completely transformed how we interact and relate within our homes, our cities, our country and our world. With the dial-up modem, files downloaded at 28.8 – 33.7 kilobytes per second, or 0.23 – 0.27 megabits per second, with a wired connection at your computer. If you were tech savvy, you carried a mobile phone and a PDA that could receive just texts, emails, and faxes. The first version of wifi as we know it was released in 1997, but wasn’t commercially adopted for another few years.
Now that smart phone you hold in your hand can connect to the internet, receive emails and texts, stream videos and music anywhere, anytime at the speed of 25-125 megabits per second, depending on how you’re connected.
DVDs and rewritable CDs and CD-RW were hitting the market. MP3s were starting to proliferate illegally on the internet. These technologies brought the sharing of information, specifically music and images, to the masses. But CDs, even today, can only hold up to 700 MB (0.7 GB) of data and are easily damaged. The flash drive was still two years out from a patent.
Now everyone has access to free data storage via the cloud, whether through Google, Dropbox, or Apple, just to name a few. Images are shared and stored freely through social media. Even using a flash drive to transfer information has become antiquated with the increased usage of mobile devices.
Long before Google became a verb and any information in the world could be accessed by a few taps of a keyboard, Lycos, AltaVista and Yahoo were. These internet crawlers simply ranked searches based upon the frequency of the search term within the webpage. Now Google is the most visited site in the world, determining everything from where we shop to where we eat. The concept of ranking that Google developed now dominates all of the information we receive.