30 Things That Didn’t Exist 30 Years Ago

In the last 30 years, we’ve witnessed an explosion of new technology, digital services, and products that have completely transformed our daily lives. Things that were unimaginable three decades ago have now become so embedded in our routines that we often overlook how essential they’ve become. Here’s 30 of such things.

Smartphones (2007)

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The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 irreversibly changed how we live by revolutionizing communication and changing how we work, shop, eat, socialize, travel, and even take photos! They have become such an indispensable part of modern life that it’s difficult to imagine a time before them.

Social Media (2004)

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In 2004, Facebook was launched, and human interaction would never be the same again! Two years later, in 2006, Twitter arrived, and many other social media sites soon followed. Though they can help us learn and share our lives with those we love, they also spread misinformation, invade our privacy, and allow cyberbullying (The New York Times).

Streaming Services (2007)

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CNBC reports that Netflix made the smart decision in 2007 to shift from offering DVD rentals to being an online streaming provider, forever changing home entertainment. Streaming services have since wreaked havoc on cable TV and cinema industries by offering unparalleled convenience, value, and choice.

Wi-fi (1999)

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The introduction of wi-fi in 1999 is a biggy and directly responsible for many others on this list. Connecting to the internet without restrictive wires (yet within a certain radius of a wireless router) allows us to work, learn, and entertain ourselves conveniently from almost anywhere.

eBooks (1998)

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The advent of eBooks and eReaders like the Amazon Kindle has transformed how we access, choose, and read literature. While the nostalgic weight and smell of a traditional book cannot be replicated, the sheer ease and speed at which we can now access our favorite titles has made reading more accessible and portable than ever before.

GPS Navigation (2000)

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Remember when you had to buy the right road atlas and then stop your car in a layby to figure out where you were going? According to Aerospace, space-based navigation like GPS technology has changed many aspects of our lives- including finding our way by car and on foot using apps like Google Maps.

Bluetooth (1994)

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Android Authority reveals that Bluetooth technology, first used in 1994, was the first readily available type of digital wireless connectivity. Nowadays, we find it in everything from wireless headphones to smart home devices, acting as a reliable way for different gadgets to interact without the need for cables.

YouTube (2005)

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It’s hard to visualize a time before YouTube! It now provides us with a quick and easy way to share knowledge and ideas, entertain ourselves, and express our creativity. Since its launch in 2005, this video-uploading site has even been responsible for new career paths: those of content creators and influencers.

Electric Cars (2008)

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The first commercially available fully electric vehicle was the Tesla Roadster, released in 2008. Since this pioneering sports car, fully electric vehicles have gained popularity for many reasons; they offer unparalleled economy, sustainability, zero emissions, and quieter engines.

Selfies (2000s)

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Taking a picture of yourself just wasn’t ‘a thing’ 30 years ago! The rise of selfies has been largely attributed to front-facing smartphone cameras and social media- both of which have increased the feasibility and desirability of self-taken photos. Medium also adds that selfies have been credited with increasing body positivity and normalizing natural beauty.

Virtual Reality (2012)

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Kickstarter reports that The Oculus Rift, released in 2012, was “the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games.” The headset was the first of its kind to use VR technology for gaming, but the potential use of VR for other uses (like education and training) is now also being explored and developed. Exciting times!

Uber (2009)

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If you went back to 2004 and told someone, “I’ll get an Uber,” you’d be met with confusion and probably the number for the local cab company. Before Uber usurped traditional taxi services by connecting drivers and passengers with their smartphone app, the taxi rank was your only port of call!

Commercial Drones (2000s)

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According to the Imperial War Museum, the military first used drones in 1918, during WW1. It wasn’t until recently, however, that they were used for non-military purposes as tools for impressive aerial photography and agriculture surveillance, as well as fun toys for recreational flying.

Cryptocurrencies (2009)

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In 2009, the first ever virtual currency, Bitcoin, was introduced, and it has since been joined by over 9000 other such cryptocurrencies. These have decentralized the digital currency market and gained popularity for offering an alternative, highly private way to invest.

Food Delivery Apps (Grubhub – 2004)

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Thirty years ago, ordering takeout meant calling up the restaurant with a paper menu to hand. No more! Business of Apps reports that food delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats are on the rise- offering unprecedented convenience, automation, and variety, plus a whole range of ever-changing offers.

Voice Assistants (2014)

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Amazon Echo was the first voice-activated AI assistant, appearing in 2014. Nowadays, voice assistants such as Alexa are common and are becoming increasingly integrated into our everyday lives. They quickly and easily control linked devices, answer questions, and offer entertainment without the need for time-consuming typing.

Online Shopping (1995)

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While shopping online was possible before 1995, Time reports that it was (once again) e-commerce giant Amazon that first made it universally accessible and changed the way we shop forever. With an almost infinite choice of independently reviewed products, 24-hour shopping, and fast delivery, it’s often impossible for smaller retailers to compete.

3D Printing (2000s)

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So, yes, technically, 3D printers were invented in the 1980s, but they weren’t widely used until the millennium. 3D printers have revolutionized manufacturing and prototype design while allowing for the production of bespoke, highly specialized components- transforming industries from healthcare to aerospace.

Reusable Grocery Bags (2000s)

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National Geographic reports, “In an effort to curb the number of bags being used once and then thrown away, cities around the world have instituted bans or taxes on plastic bags.” These environmental concerns have led to textile and toughened plastic alternatives that last for many more shopping trips and are far more sustainable.

High-Definition TVs (1990s-2000s)

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While high-definition TVs were technically available just under 30 years ago, the technology wasn’t reliable and affordable enough to become popular until after the millennium. Nowadays, high-definition TVs are standard, allowing us to watch movies and TV shows in the highest quality format possible.

Fitbits (2007)

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Wearable fitness trackers, like the Fitbit (first released in 2007), have revolutionized exercise and personal health monitoring. They don’t just measure steps either- they monitor heart rate and calorie consumption, as well as sleep- keeping users informed, motivated, and generally healthier.

Smart Home Devices (2010)

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Safewise reports that 2010 marked the release of The Nest, the first of many smart home devices. Technology like this helps make our homes more efficient, secure, and connected by monitoring and adjusting thermostats, alarms, lighting, and gadgets.

Biometric Unlocking (2013)

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The Touch ID was the first commercially sold biometric security device but has since been superseded- with smartphones and other technology now incorporating biometrics to enhance security. Using a unique fingerprint or facial scan to unlock certain features (like online banking) is now an essential feature of digital devices.

Digital Photography (1990s)

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Crazy to think that taking photos once required the lengthy processing of the film reel at your local photo developers. Digital cameras first arrived in the 1990s but didn’t become mainstream until the 2000s. They are now almost ubiquitous, even amongst professional photographers, and have been successfully incorporated into smartphones.

Contactless Payments (Apple Pay – 2014)

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Since 2014, contactless payment methods, including Apple Pay and Google Pay, have helped make transactions faster and more convenient, reducing our reliance on physical cards and cash. Not only can you store all your cards on one device, but they’re more secure than those in your wallet.

Podcasts (2000s)

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Podcasts are audio-based entertainment/educational media. Riverside states, “Instead of turning on the radio, listeners use a podcast listening app like Apple Podcasts or Spotify to subscribe and listen to their favorite shows as often as a new episode dropped.” They’re now utilized for discussions, storytelling, comedy, and niche content.

Online Learning (2008)

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Online learning platforms like Khan Academy (founded in 2008) have made education more convenient and cheaper to access- particularly for those living remote from quality learning establishments. Many offer free, high-quality resources that open education up to those from poorer economic backgrounds.

Electric Scooters (2017)

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The urban transport solution we didn’t even know we needed! Dockless electric scooters have emerged as a quick, easy, affordable, and eco-friendly solution, particularly great for large cities with high traffic volumes and few parking options. The first model released was the ‘Bird’ in 2017.

Smartwatches (2015)

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Smartwatches are like mini wearable smartphones, primarily used for things like health tracking, receiving crucial notifications, and listening to music while exercising. While they’ll never replace our smartphones, they act as useful extensions to our connectivity, particularly when holding a handheld device isn’t practical.

eSports (2000s)

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Competitive video gaming, known as eSports, has rapidly become a phenomenon worldwide. There are several aspects: professional tournaments, leagues, and dedicated fan communities- all of which are effectively blurring the line between traditional sports and digital entertainment.

Read More: 17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

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Every city has its dangers, but it goes without saying that some places are far more dangerous than others. We’ve compiled a list of 17 of the most dangerous cities in the world in terms of violent crime and homicide rates.

17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

17 Non-Negotiables Men of Integrity Refuse to Compromise On

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A man with integrity has strong moral principles—there are just some things that he would never do. In this article, we’ll find out the top 17 things that damage a man’s integrity.

17 Non-Negotiables Men of Integrity Refuse to Compromise On

17 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

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Let’s be real — when was the last time you went through your wallet and got rid of anything unnecessary? It’s important to know if you’re carrying items with you every day that could put you at risk. Click to discover the 17 things you should never keep in your wallet, helping you minimize the risk of identity theft, financial loss, and other issues.

17 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

18 Old School Habits That Are Making a Comeback

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Old school habits are starting to make a comeback. These can be hobbies associated with the older generation, such as sewing or woodworking. It can also be old-school manners, such as writing thank-you notes and opening doors for people. Let’s look at 18 of these habits.

18 Old School Habits That Are Making a Comeback 

18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand

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American expressions are a vital part of its culture, reflecting the nation’s history and values.  However, these sayings can sometimes puzzle people from other countries because they often carry context, colloquialisms, and historical references that can lose their intended meaning when crossing borders. Let’s look at 18 of such American sayings.

18 American Phrases That Non-Americans Struggle to Understand