From Tinder to Venmo: These 25 apps changed everything
Games, social media, dating apps and more: Here is a list of 25 apps that had the most impact on our lives in the last 10 years.
In the last decade, apps (and by association, smartphones) have become an essential part of our lives. Since the iOS App Store and Google Play launched in 2008 with what seemed like mostly novelty titles, they've grown to include millions of apps that help us communicate, , listen to music and . OK, sometimes we still use our phones to make calls, but apps are so popular there are now on your phone.
As part of CNET's Decade in Review here are our picks for the impactful apps of the 2010s. I crowdsourced this list from every CNET editor and then curated it further from there. The result is the list below in no particular order.
Note that in the case of very similar apps, I combined the most popular ones in that category, instead of having individual entries. And, sure, there are hundreds of impactful and important apps not on this list. If you feel we didn't include one of your favorite apps, put it in the comments and I'll be sure to chime in as well.
What is it? Instagram allows you to share photos and videos.
Why it's on the list: Instagram has changed the way we think about photos and, for many of us, altered our eating habits (for a time I couldn't start eating my dinner until I captured its image perfectly). It's also become an incredibly effective marketing tool over the years and continues to grow, as it has now reached 1 billion users per month. I think the reason it's still popular is because it continues to evolve in meaningful ways. Adding things like Stories and Boomerang over the last few years has kept it feeling fresh and adopting these features is a great way to continue to expand its user base. While celebrity influencers continue to make us believe they're actual living impossibly extravagant lives in order to sell us products. and many people still behave completely irresponsibly in order to capture that "perfect pic," Instagram is still one of the most simple and entertaining social platforms out there.
What is it? A social media platform for posting text, pictures and videos.
Why it's on the list: Thirteen years after its debut, no one would argue that Twitter has completely changed the way the world communicates. From the where protesters used Twitter to not only coordinate, but also voice their message to the world, to world leaders like , who can now immediately send a message to every connected person on the planet, it's clear that communication will never be the same. Though Twitter hasn't proven successful at clamping down on hate speech, it's still one of the best and most informative social networks.
What is it? A social media and networking platform
Why it's on the list: Like Twitter, Facebook's debut predated the decade, but it's become the premiere social media platform in the world, with nearly 2.5 billion active users. It let you reconnect with old friends and family members across the world, and you were inundated with memes, cat videos, requests for Farmville and news, both real and not so much. After the short boom of MySpace, Facebook popularized social media with the mainstream. However, amid its user privacy scandals and influx of fake news, the platform has fallen under harsh scrutiny since the 2016 election.
What are they? Dating apps, popularized by their simple filtering mechanic.
Why they're on the list: Never before has the act of finding someone, no matter your needs and wants, been as easy (in the case of Tinder and Bumble, swipe right on a potential mate's pic if you're interested. If not, swipe left.) People use the apps for everything from quick hookups to casual dating to looking for long-term relationships. Grindr, a dating app geared towards the LGBTQ community, was the first to debut, but Tinder profoundly changed the dating scene. Suddenly you could filter your choices almost instantly to get exactly what you were looking for. LOL! If only human beings were such simple creatures! BWAHAHAHAA!!
Google Maps/Apple Maps
What are they? The two most popular map/directions apps in the world.
Why they're on the list: I honestly don't travel without using one of these. I have a horrible sense of direction, I didn't start driving until I was in my 30s, and I still don't know most streets by name. Seriously, I'm terrible and need these. But I digress. These apps took Mapquest to its logical evolutionary conclusion. Now you can travel anywhere in the world without ever needing to know exactly where a place is. Just follow the directions like you're playing GTA or something and even see what your destination looks like from the outside. Although I personally prefer Google Maps, Apple Maps has vastly improved since a few years back.