Tech world has changed dramatically since the White House last changed hands

obama trump 2009 2017
Pixabay images

Eight years is but a blink in the grand scheme, yet so much will have changed on the technology and social-media landscape between when Barack Obama took the oath on Jan. 20, 2009 and Donald Trump does so Friday.

Before he got started, Obama needed to plead and perhaps pull rank to keep his beloved BlackBerry, a gadget preference which at the time did not seem all that odd. Obama would remain loyal to the device, too, even as its popularity diminished, only relinquishing it last year in exchange for a customized smartphone that he mocked as more suitable for a toddler than a commander in chief.

011817blog obama blackberry REUTERS/Larry Downing

If you carried the latest iPhone when George W. Bush and family moved out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., that meant you had the second generation, the iPhone 3G; the 3Gs would be introduced later that year. The iPhone 3G was the first to include integrated access to Apple’s then-new App Store, which had launched during the summer of 2008. Today the store holds 2.2 million apps and has dished out a total of 140 billion.

The iPad was still a year away.

Taken for granted today, GPS apps providing turn-by-turn driving directions on iOS and Android were brand new in 2009.

Trump today reportedly uses a Samsung Galaxy to send his now infamous tweets, while his staff tweets from the president-elect’s account using an iPhone, according to various press reports. In either case, the Twitter that Trump is so identified with bears little resemblance to the company that had just begun making headlines eight years ago.

At that juncture, Twitter was not yet three years old – only five younger than Obama’s daughter Sasha – and had only about 5 million regular users. As of last fall, Twitter’s flock had ballooned to 316 million, including the omnipresent Trump. Heck, in January 2009, MySpace was still kind of a big deal, having peaked the prior year at roughly 76 million visitors per month.

011817blog plane on hudson REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Twitter had yet to establish itself as a go-to destination for consuming or making news. However, both began to change just a few days before Obama first boarded Air Force One when Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River and a ferryboat passenger’s picture of the scene posted to Twitter and went viral. (That's a different picture above.)

Facebook had 150 million users in January 2009; two presidential terms later it has north of a billion. And Mark Zuckerberg has a lot more money than even the billionaire incoming president.

“Angry Birds” had yet to flap wings, Alec Baldwin had yet to be kicked off a plane for playing “Words With Friends,” and no one had fallen off a cliff playing “Pokémon Go.” Minecraft was four months from its initial release and an eventual vice grip on two of my children.

011817blog 3d printer XYZprinting

Machines called 3D printers had been around for a while by 2009 but were little noticed outside of manufacturing and academic circles. Today my kids’ high school has three of them.

Wearables were called clothes (with all due respect to Dick Tracy and hearing aids). Google Glass hadn’t yet created a round of spectacularly unwarranted hype. Mass-market virtual reality was not yet ready for the mass market … or reality.

Instagram and Pinterest were still a year away; Snapchat two. Google+? Well, enough said.

011817blog google self driving car Creative Commons Lic.

Self-driving cars were not yet doing any self-driving on public roadways. Google didn’t even begin its autonomous car program until later in 2009.

Speaking of Google, its flagship search engine in year one of the Obama Administration would see two new competitors emerge: Microsoft Bing and Wolfram Alpha.

Some television stations in the United States were still broadcasting analog signals. TV cord-cutters were an oddball fringe; today they’re a quarter of the population and rapidly growing.

Only 10 percent of Americans had smartphones when the throngs gathered for Obama’s first inauguration. Eight years later, 88 percent carry them, according to Verizon. The number of households without a landline has doubled from a quarter to a half.

The world’s fastest supercomputer was the Cray Jaguar, located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and clocking in at 1.759 PFLOPS. Today’s champ is China’s Sunway TaihuLight and its 93 PFLOPS.

Finally, on Inauguration Day 2009, Steve Jobs was still CEO of Apple.

Welcome regulars and passersby. Here are a few more recent buzzblog items. And, if you’d like to receive Buzzblog via e-mail newsletter, here’s where to sign up. You can follow me on Twitter here and on Google+ here.

070616blog box open
Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)