This Month in Tech History: February – Review Geek



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February is filled to the brim with monumental events in engineering history. Three services you probably use every day launched this month, along with two of the most beloved game series of all time, plus a groundbreaking moment in artificial intelligence development. Keep reading to learn the details.

February 4, 2000: The Sims released

EA

When Maxis launched The Sims, it was groundbreaking. It was the first time that players could create simulated people, build their houses and live their lives in great detail. Taking every moment of a Sim’s life in an addictive way, Maxis delivered the first truly immersive life simulator game. Players had never seen anything like it and the world loved it.

Although it started as a spin-off of the popular SimCity franchise, The Sims immediately took on a life of its own. It was not only one of the best-selling computer games of the year 2000, but also became the best-selling PC game of all time. It was later dethroned by its successor: The Sims 2. With a seemingly never-ending array of sequels, expansion packs, spin-offs, and mods, The Sims is still going strong today. The franchise has shipped over 200 million copies worldwide and lives on in its most recent release: The Sims 4.

The Sims 4

Build the world of your dreams in The Sims 4.

February 4, 2004: Facebook goes live

Few companies have influenced the 21st century as much as Facebook. It all started in a Harvard dorm when a young Mark Zuckerberg and his classmates launched The Facebook.

Originally exclusive to Harvard University students, Facebook was a hit on campus and quickly expanded to the rest of academia. At the end of 2004, Facebook had one million active users. By the time Facebook opened its doors to the general public in 2006, that number had grown to six million. 2008, Facebook has overtaken Myspace as the world’s most popular social network. Today, Facebook is approaching three billion active monthly users.

The dominance of Facebook changed the way society communicates. And it continues to push new frontiers of online social interaction. In 2021, Facebook Inc. himself Meta. While the social network will remain known as Facebook, the change signaled the company’s focus on the next major internet revolution: the metaverse.

February 8, 2005: Google Maps is launched

Google Maps

Before Google Maps, if you wanted to go somewhere you’ve never been, you needed a physical map to show you the way. If you were going somewhere far, you needed several maps or even an entire atlas. They were big, bulky and you could never use them while driving. Services like MapQuest saved us from that with printed turn-by-turn directions. And if you want to spend the extra money, you can buy a GPS device like a TomTom to guide you.

When Google acquired Where 2 Technologies Relaunched in late 2004 as Google Maps, it leveraged the Silicon Valley giant’s strengths and resources to improve upon the foregoing and integrate it into the Google ecosphere. The result is a comprehensive map of the entire world carried around in the pockets of more than a billion people. They show where they are, where they are going and how to get there – for free.

February 10, 1996: Computer beats World Chess Champion

When IBM supercomputer deep blue defeated reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparovradically changed attitudes and perceptions about artificial intelligence. Until then, computers could only occasionally beat the highest-rated human players. Kasparov’s defeat is one of the most symbolic milestones in the history of computer science, as it proved that a computer can outperform a human in an exercise that requires high cognitive skills.

Feng-Hsiung Hsu designed and built Deep Blue for the specific purpose of beating a world chess champion. He developed it in 1985 at Carnegie Mellon University and continued at IBM after 1989. In 1996, Deep Blue could evaluate 200 million moves per second, and IBM was eager to give it a widely publicized match.

After beating Deep Blue’s predecessor, Deep Thought, in 1989, the previously undefeated grandmaster expected to win easily. But in the first game of the match, Kasparov gave up after 19 moves. After losing the first game, Kasparov won the match by beating Deep Blue four games to two. Nevertheless, Deep Blue set a precedent. And a year later, with the hardware upgrade, Deep Blue finally defeated Kasparov in a rematch series.

February 14, 2005: YouTube.com activated

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YouTube started when Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim de . launched video dating website Tune in, join. But five days after the launch, they closed the business because no one uploaded videos. The former PayPal employees reconsidered the romantic element and relaunched the site as YouTube.

The first upload to the site was an 18 second video featuring Karim visiting the elephant exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. YouTube’s growth exploded immediately and never slowed down. A year later, the site hosted more than 25 million videos, capturing the attention of potential buyers. And just 20 months after the video dating experiment went awry, Google bought YouTube for $165 billion in stock.

Today, YouTube is by far the most viewed online video platform. More than two billion people watch YouTube every month and the YouTube mobile app has 845 million active monthly users. It ranks second in other crucial categories, such as the most visited website behind Google and the most used social media platform right after Facebook.

February 19, 1990: Adobe Photoshop 1.0 released

Photoshop was the brainchild of a University of Michigan student Thomas Knoll. Originally called Display, it was limited to displaying images in grayscale. In 1988, his brother, John suggested extending the scope. It took the two six months to develop it into a more robust image editing suite. After renaming the program ImagePro and then Photoshop, the brothers sold about 200 copies through manufacturer Barneyscan. And in September of that year, Adobe bought the distribution license.

When Adobe Photoshop launched in February 1990, it was only available on Macintosh. When Adobe released it for Windows in 1993, it achieved the growth that would eventually make it one of the world’s most recognizable and widely used software brands. Adobe bought the program directly from the Knoll brothers in 1995 for $34.5 million.

February 21, 1986: The Legend of Zelda goes on sale

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Legendary Nintendo Game Designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka approached The Legend of Zelda very differently from other video games of the time.

The game features one of the earliest examples of open world design, prioritizing exploration until swift completion. The opening crawl captures the knowledge of the game, giving players a deeper investment in the characters and story. And the increased difficulty encouraged people to exchange strategies to beat the game, create a community of fans, and word of mouth. The approach paid off.

Nintendo launched the game in Japan in 1986 and it was a huge success with players. When it arrived in North America and Europe more than a year later, it was one of the highly anticipated games ever. With sales totaling 6.5 million copies, The Legend of Zelda is the fifth best-selling game for the Nintendo Entertainment system. And it has been carrying that success ever since. The franchise’s latest title, The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild, was hailed as a masterpiece. And the highly anticipated sequel is slated for release in 2022.

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