These are my picks for the best 'revolutionary' softwares/OSes/web apps of 2009:
1. Google Chrome - This is without doubt the most interesting product of 2009. Although it was released in September 2008, Chrome really came of age in 2009. There's now a Windows, Mac as well as a Linux version of Chrome and the usability and feature set of Chrome has virtually doubled in the past few months. Its looking like a much more complete browser now than it ever did! And well here's the thing, I was an ardent fan of Firefox (maybe I still am) but seriously, Firefox doesnt really have the 'nifty-ness' of Chrome and frankly speaking, the development of Firefox isnt really headed in that direction! And now Chrome has a really good set of "Extensions" (aka the "add-ons"), so you wont really miss Firefox!
2. icloud - Cloud computing is the future, there's no debate about that. The thin line between desktop and online computing has been blurred forever thanks to cloud computing. Now you can access your favourite desktop apps and files no matter where in the world you are. And among all the other cloud computing 'sites', icloud is without any doubt the sleeker and the most popular one. This surely was one of the most awesome stuff we've seen in 2009 and we're surely gonna see more of cloud in the years to come.
3. Ubuntu - Linux also came of age in 2009. This year saw the release of one of the most user-friendly Linux OSes ever, Ubuntu 9.10 (codenamed Karmic Koala). It shattered the myth that Linux was all about terminals, kernels and everything geeky. Linux as of now is as user-friendly (and in some instances, even more) than its Windows counterpart. The sheer fact that everything is customisable is the plus point of Ubuntu. Also, the impenetrable security of Ubuntu has also been the talking point. Ubuntu is coming up with its LTS (Long Term Support) release next year 10.04 codenamed Lucid Lynx which promises to be another revolutionary step in Linux.
4. Twitter - Who'd have thought a 140 character stupid social networking concept would turn out to be one of the most most important path breaking achievements in the social networking scene! Twitter has used 2009 to usher into a social networking giant, competing with the likes of Facebook and Myspace. Sure Twitter has teething problems and annoying outages but the fact is for millions around the globe (and that includes celebs as well), Twitter has become a way of life.
5. DivX 7 - An unlikely candidate you might say? Erm...no. Infact I might venture to say, the release of DivX 7 was perhaps the most important landmark achievement of 2009. What does that mean? Well in the words of Wikipedia, "On the 6th of January 2009, DivX 7 was released, which added H.264 video, AAC audio and Matroska container support, surpassing the restrictions of their previous formats." So now, you can convert your favourite high definition videos to a format which will compress them to a large extent (much larger extent than Xvid or DivX) without apparent loss in quality! If you have a video which you want to share with the world, size is now no at all a barrier. (Some might say H264 and Matroska existed way before DivX 7 released, but the fact is because DivX 7 has integrated these codecs, it will now receive a worldwide recognition and acceptance from users. What this also means is that come 2010, and we might see products aka Blu Ray Disc Players which will play videos which use the H264 codec! Should suffice to say, this is music to millions of videophiles across the planet)
That was my pick of 2009.