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The best software inventions ever

In this series, we look at everything, large and small, that has changed the way we do things or has significantly enhanced our lives. In part 13, we look at software innovation.

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Topic: Innovation
The best software inventions ever ZDNet
1 of 12 Pexels

Virtual reality

Virtual reality uses a headset to project images and sounds to project a realistic environment to the user. Users can look around and interact with the virtual world and features in it.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
2 of 12 Geralt

YouTube

Bought by Google in November 2006, over one billion hours of content is watched on YouTube every day. Its premium subscription service, YouTube TV, delivers live streaming access from the five major broadcast networks for $35 per month.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
3 of 12 Amazon

Voice assistants

Alexa and other AI personal assistants are capable of voice interaction to manage your daily life. You can control devices in your smart home by invoking the voice assistant using its wake up word.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
4 of 12 Geralt

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the largest general reference work on the internet. There are over 40 million articles in over 250 languages and anyone can edit any article.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
5 of 12 422737

Search engines

Search engines search for information across the world wide web. The results are presented in list form on search engine results pages.

Bots crawl the web to find pages to add to the index. Careful use of images and text-based keywords ensures that pages feature high in results

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
6 of 12 Eileen Brown

Notepad

Notepad is a simple text editor for the Microsoft Windows operating system. It strips all formatting, hidden characters, and scripts.

It has basic text manipulation functions such as word wrap. Its basic features means that it is quick to respond on low-powered hardware.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
7 of 12 USPS

Blockchain

Blockchain is the cryptographically-secured chain of blocks that is the core component of the digital currency bitcoin, managed autonomously without the need for a trusted administrator.

It records transactions across multiple computers that cannot be altered retroactively and confirms that each unit is transferred only once.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
8 of 12 Lorante Valdez

Podcasts

A podcast is a digital audio file that can be listened to on the user's computer or mobile device.

Episodes can be subscribed to and downloaded from a central server which maintains a list of files available. The word 'podcast' is a combination of iPod and broadcast.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
9 of 12 Geralt

World wide web

The world wide web is a set of web addresses, or Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), which are linked together by hyperlinks. The web was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
10 of 12 Eileen Brown

OLE

Object Linking and Embedding allows one document or object to be linked to or embedded in another document or object. Objects can remain connected to the source data and updated when the source data changes.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
11 of 12 Geralt

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language (html) is the standard language for creating web pages and applications.

HTML describes the structure of the page and its elements such as <p></td></tr><tr><td> etc., and it provides different descriptors of the page. It is a basic technology of the world wide web.

The best software inventions ever ZDNet
12 of 12 J Raffin

3D printing

3D printing enables computers to build a three-dimensional object using layers of material, usually polymer, although other materials can be used such as chocolate.

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