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12 January 2015, 09:56
Remember when the ENTIRE INTERNET was going through its awkward teen phase?
We love the internet. But a lot of us can remember back to a time when it wasn't as simple to use - or as nice to look at.
As we enter what will no doubt be yet another year of website redesigns, weird rebranding and Facebook pages protesting a new layout, we thought we'd take a jump back to a simpler time, and show you what the internet looked like ten years ago. Which was 2005, by the way. Let that sink in.
Never gets old.
Before Justin Timberlake came in and suggested they drop the "the", Mark Zuckerberg's college-only social network was all profiles, no feed, and no picture cropping.
Liking! The internet's obsession with "Likes" conceived the Like page for fans of a thing. There's also a sleeker, more uniform design, access granted to all people of the world, and a Timeline full of algorithms to make sure your relatives' racists rants and high school friends' babies are always the first posts you see.
LOOK AT THIS SILLY UGLY BABY. Before its first real investment, YouTube's whole deal was about making a shareable capacity for your low-quality home videos. Great concept, but boy, were they in need of a designer on the team.
Google-infused, turbo-powered data collection means that YouTube knows what you might feel like watching at some point maybe - and crams your homepage with it on top of your actual subscriptions.
And that's just scratching the surface of what YouTube has actually become. With grant schemes for creators, built-in editing software and physical studio spaces to shoot in, YouTube has become a multi-million dollar media powerhouse, constantly birthing the next generation of talent and fame (though the two are not mutually exclusive).
Aww, lil' buddy.
The Twitter bird was actually naught but an unhatched egg before its official launch in 2006.
The "status update" got a world-changing overhaul with Twitter's trademark 140-character limit, and now 500 million users actively use the site in pursuit of communication, knowledge, entertainment, activism, fame, and epic trolling.
By this point in internet history, Google was already the main player in internet searching, having crushed foes such as Lycos and Ask Jeeves when the verb "Google" became more popular than "search" (you have Buffy The Vampire Slayer to thank for that). But you would never guess the power lurking behind the simple facade of their homepage. And does anyone even remember what "Froogle" means?
Well, if it ain't broke...
Google has become the ultimate online empire in the past ten years with YouTube, Chrome and Google+ being just a few of their many outstretching arms of power; but it hasn't been reflected in the simple design of their search engine.
Find the thing, buy the thing, get the thing. That was the no-nonsense policy of Amazon back in the day and they had a simple site design especially for this three-step process.
Plus, if you needed an extra blast from the past, that first item on the list is an announcement about the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. THE BOOK.
Amazon have their own products! And media! Please buy it all! Oh yeah, and they sell some other suff too.
OH GOD WHY.
Remember Bebo? MySpace's dorky younger sibling? In its heyday before it crashed and burned in the late 2000s, the site had a relatively unchanging design that looked like what would happen if you made a social network in Geocities.
Ha, funny joke, we all know Bebo is dead and go-
...um. Okay. Bebo is... back?
Migrating to mobile, Bebo has become a chat app that features an animated avatar of you and your friends reacting to whatever hashtag you post in your messages. Or something.
It's like when you meet the dorky younger sibling years later and they're actually kind of attractive these days, but also they've been backpacking and now they're into some weird New Age stuff.
Turns out we have to scrape the barrel a bit for sites that were actually relevant ten years ago; most of the big favourites now haven't been around that long.
But back when the internet was regarded as Scary Newfangled Thomas Edison Witchcraft, some brave souls founded Friends Reunited, a site for remembering your school friends through some seriously thick nostalgia goggles.
Except for possibly getting rid of paywall features and adding Facebook integration (bless), not much has changed in the functionality of F.R. They did get a better designer though, with slick new logo - and seem to take pride in displaying the severed heads of their successors in the top banner like some archaic social media warrior king.
Aside from some HTML mastery that would turn your profile into a flashing glittery mess of a page, MySpace didn't go through a great deal of change from its original design. That is, until it went under a couple of years ago, resulting in...
MySpace is pretty much all music now. A complete overhaul in the concept of the site means a slick, dark new look.
But Tom still hasn't changed his damn profile picture. And he never will.