As I surf the web each day, I find that it becomes more and more common for people to complain about free technology services.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to complaining about Facebook, Gmail, Skype and additional free web-based services.
I think it is important however, to take a look at where we’ve come from in regards to the evolution of technology and gain some perspective on how spoiled we’ve become with our web services.
See also: Top 8 Free Online Tools and Services
When the internet was first introduced to the public 15-20 years ago, many of the services that are free to us today, were originally paid services.
Classmates.com was one of the first social networks and, when it was first released, users had to paid a monthly subscription fee.
When hotmail was first introduced in the mid 1990’s it featured a free service but, because of low storage capacity, users were all but forced to pay for the premium version.
To really put it all in perspective, the first video conferencing service was introduced in 1982 by company called Compression Labs and cost a whopping $1000 per hour of video time. Four years later in 1986, the company reduced their charge to $100 / hour.
That being said, it is amazing to see how consumer expectations of web-based services have changed so drastically in the last couple decades. Of course, our right to complain is all relative with our current expectations but it is important to realize that we’ve got it pretty good nowadays.
Next time you start cursing at Facebook or Gmail, just remember that we used to pay for similar and even less powerful programs.
In celebration, however, of the fact that our expectations now allow us to complain so freely about free technology services, go ahead and voice all of your complaints regarding free technology in the comments below.
Who knows? Maybe even I’ll write a blog post to help fix one of the problems you voice!