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Keeping you current

(Humayun Rashid)

What Was the Internet Like the Day Facebook Was Born?

The web was already 15 years old. What else were we up to when The Facebook was born?

Ten years ago today The Facebook was born, birthed from the mind of Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room. Today, aside from Google, Facebook is the most visited site on the webFor some people, Facebook is the internet. But the internet, and internet culture, were alive and well before The Facebook came along.

Let's set the stage: The year was 2004. Wi-Fi was in its “season of...hope and hype,” said Businessweek, struggling through that no man's land through which every important technology must pass on its way to becoming the Next Big Thing. To get online, dial-up was the way to go: “Fully 48 million adult Americans have broadband connections at home,” said the Pew Internet and American Life ProjectFlat panel TVs were struggling in their battle for the living room. On the radio, Usher's Confessions, released in March, would go on to dominate.

In 2004, the iPhone is still three years away. Your techy friends are awaiting the arrival of the super sleek Motorola Razr.

To get online, you've got a few options: Firefox is nearly twoInternet Explorer, now on version 6, is eight years old. Netscape Navigator, largely dead, turns 10 this year.

Your PC is probably running Windows XP.

Google is six. But Yahoo!, formerly Jerry's guide to the World Wide Web, is 10. Ask Jeeves is still a thing.

You'll need to wait another year for YouTube. Hilarious videos spread through sites like eBaum's World. Or, if you're bold, LimeWire, or BitTorrent, or the five-month-old The Pirate BayNapster is long dead.

If you're the gaming sort, this was a big year: Half-Life 2 is the runner-up for Best Action Game at E3, according to IGN, and World of Warcraft comes out in November. (RIP social life.) It's the era of the XBox, PS2, and GameCube.

Star Wars Kid is old hat. All Your Base Are Belong to Us is a throwback. The Numa Numa guy would go on to win the year

We still have another year before we have to deal with Chuck Norris facts. Cats do not yet want cheezburgers.

The year saw some other big website launches, though: in March, Google's Gmail would first enter public betaFlickr has a February launch.

Wikipedia is three.

Makeoutclub.comthe first big online social network, is five. MySpace is already one year old.

And into this world comes Facebook. 

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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