August 19, 2013

The Twitter Google Netflix iPad Dotcom YouTube Facebook Era

As technology has weaved its way into practically every aspect of our lives, it has become something of a challenge for historians, journalists and others to try and encapsulate this new era of near-pervasive Internet, dramatically reduced barriers to publishing, and obsessive gadget accumulation.

I grew up in a world where a whole generation of people could be summarized easily, defined by population bumps like the Baby Boomers, a shared experience in battle, as Tom Brokaw frequently cites in The Greatest Generation, or quite simply, by the assigned letter given to those born in a ten to fifteen year period, like Generations X and Y. Now, newsmakers and analysts alike are trying to explain just what this new era should be called. Is there one device or one company or one shared experience that defines us?

With some quick research, it's clear there are many players vying for the elite status of owning our tech-savvy era. I tapped into Google (disclosure: I work there) for a few examples. Let them play out and see if you favor one over another or have a better option. All screenshots current as of Friday, August 16th, 2013.

The iPod Era: 69,100 Google results
Represents: The iPod at peak was more than half of Apple's revenue, outpacing Mac and all software sales. The iPod was a cultural phenomenon representing fashionable portability of digital media and personalization of music listening.
Is it over? Yes. According to AppleInsider, the iPod Era ended in 2010.

The iPad Era: 132,000 Google results
Represents: The first successful tablet computer disrupted the old way of doing many things, and picked up where Apple's iPod and iPhone had left off.
Is it over? Probably not. The iPad Era launched in 2010. Debate from AdAge questions if it's done.

The Google Era: 259,000 Google results
Represents: Near-instant retrieval of information, and a reduced need to memorize. Ability to scale.
Is it over? Nope, unless you think Business Insider is onto something.

The Twitter Era: 401,100 Google results
Represents: Near-instant ability to communicate and a real-time medium.
Is it over? No.

The Facebook Era: 1,040,000 Google results
Hey look! A book: The Facebook Era
Represents: Increased connections with social ties, and ease of discovering personal information.

The myspace Era: 59,500 Google results
Represents: Like Facebook, only earlier, more personal information online, simple creative sharing.
Is it over? Yes. Absolutely. This dude missed the whole thing.

The Blogging Era: 150,000 Google results
Represents: Ability for anyone to publish, in long form, at no cost.
Is it over? Getting there. In 2004, this guy claimed 2014 would finish it up.

The Android Era: 297,000 Google results
Represents: The entry and rapid adoption of Android as a smartphone OS. 
Is it over? No.

The YouTube Era: 210,000 Google results
Represents: The ability of anyone to publish video and have it be seen around the world. Also represents casual video consumption relative to professional 
Is it over? No.

The Dotcom Era: 1,490,000 Google results
Represents: Referred to as much as a bubble as an era these days, the first rush online by traditional services and businesses. Many did exceptionally well. Many more disappeared. 
Is it over? Yes. At least the first round.

The Microsoft Era: 423,000 Google results
Represents: The last few decades of a world where personal computing was dominated by Windows PCs and Microsoft software.
Is it over? Many people think so. In fact, a "Post-Microsoft Era" has been discussed.

The Steve Jobs Era: 67,900 Google results
Represents: Steve's personal impact on the world of technology, design, marketing and one of the most successful companies in Valley and tech history.
Is it over? Unfortunately, yes, as Steve passed away, but his impact lives on.

The Netflix Era: 41,600 Google results
Represents: On demand instant access to a wide variety of films and TV shows, and the business impact for those in more traditional markets. A disruption of Hollywood.
Is it over? No.

So what era are we in? If you went by total numbers, the Dotcom Era had the most Google results, but that's historical by nature. The Facebook Era is in second place, with Google properties, including YouTube and Android having nearly as many when combined. The iPad era is still strong, with Twitter putting on a good rising show, and Microsoft being high in the rankings, given its market penetration.

Other good options I either didn't run or tested but cut so this post isn't a mile long... "The Yahoo! Era", "The Amazon Era", "The Google Glass Era", and more... it's all fun. Can you think of others? What's the winner in your view?