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Blasts From the Past: 5 Advancements in Tech from 2011

 In 2021, there are a lot of technologies and other advances that seem obsolete now that it’s been over a decade since they were conceptualized and released to the public. When they came out, they definitely seemed revolutionary for their time, but now they’re just either a part of normal life or they’ve fallen into obscurity. Some of these technological advances, software developments, and website features are still around to this day and are saving countless lives, while others aren’t even available to the public anymore. This is a list of 5 pieces of technology that were released to the public in 2011.

  1.     Siri: In 2011, after about 3 years of research and development, Siri was released as an integrated feature on the iPhone 4S in October of 2011. This was the first modern digital voice assistant to be downloaded on a smart phone, but not the first digital voice assistant period. That title belongs to the IBM Simon from 1994. Siri is still used to this day, though it has major competition with other digital voice assistants such as Alexa.
  2.     Google+: This is one that I honestly barely remember. Did anyone actually USE Google+ except maybe for the Google Hangouts features that could arguably just be a predecessor to Google Meet? Anyways, this is a social media function that Google attempted to use to rival Facebook, with the expectation that 65 million people who already used Google’s services at the time would also use the Google+ services. However, this service is no longer available, as the service began its first stages of phasing out in early 2019.
  3.     Discoveries related to graphene: Graphene is a carbon-based formation that is used in many pieces of technology. In 2011, it was discovered that if graphene is struck by light, it creates electricity, thus opening the door for an advancement in solar technology. It was also used to improve the quality of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries by increasing their capacity and charging speed tenfold. It certainly does seem like batteries charge a lot faster nowadays than they did when we were kids, that’s for sure.
  4.     A malaria vaccine with a 50% effectiveness rate: This is a medical advancement, but still important to point out in the sea of other advancements that came out in 2011. While an effectiveness rate of 50% doesn’t seem very impressive for a vaccine, having a vaccination against malaria that has any effectiveness was a major breakthrough at the time. In 2011, it was estimated that almost 800 thousand people a year die of malaria every year, so the introduction of this vaccine was critical. In fact, as of 2019, the annual death toll of malaria has been sliced in half according to the WHO, and while the vaccine isn’t the only factor responsible for this, it should be noted as an important factor.
  5.     Zoom: This list wouldn’t be complete without pointing out this invention, given the state of our world right now. Zoom was launched in 2011, and while most people never heard of it at the time, it’s now practically impossible to escape the name of this video conferencing service given the state of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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