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We streamed, we Zoomed, we ordered groceries and houseplants online, we created virtual villages while navigating laptop shortages to work and learn from home. In many ways, 2020′s pandemic-induced isolation threw our dependence on technology into overdrive, snipping away at our real-life connections while bringing digital relationships to the fore.
But for every life-changing Zoom, there was at least one soon-forgotten Quibi. Here’s a look at the year’s tech winners and losers.
As the world adjusted to a new stuck-at-home reality, the pandemic could have been virtual reality’s chance to offer an escape. With the use of special headsets and accouterments like gloves, the technology lets people interact with a 360 degree view of a three-dimensional environment, seemingly a good fit for people stuck indoors.
But people turned to easier-to-use software and games that they already had. Few rushed to spend hundreds of dollars on a clunky new headset or tried to learn the ropes of virtual reality meeting software. And no VR games broke into the mainstream. So virtual reality, on the verge of success for decades, missed its moment, again.
Social media election labels
It was the year of labels on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even TikTok. Ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential vote, the companies promised to clamp down on election misinformation, including baseless charges of fraud and candidates’ premature declarations of victory. And the most visible part of this was the bevy of labels applied to tweets, posts, photos and videos.