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The result: A new term has entered the tech lexicon: social networking.Companies such as My Space, You Tube and Facebook have grown like wildfire as users realized the Web was more than just a communications and information tool.
Foursquare is valued at 0 million, but that figure is sure to grow -- assuming the company doesn't get bought by a Web giant.
As Twitter has grown, it has produced unexpected uses, becoming a key tool for journalists, states and companies to get their message to the public.
Twitter hopes its popularity translates to profitability -- and if it does, the company could be worth billions.
Twitter: By now, microblogging phenom Twitter has become a household name to many, with everyone from A-list celebrities like Kanye West and Justin Bieber to ordinary folks using the service to post 140-word missives for all the world to read.
(But many people -- including older folks and those in under-connected areas -- still think the word refers to some kind of bird call.) After Facebook, Twitter is arguably the hottest Internet company on the planet right now, with more than 100 million users worldwide.
He's going to need help, and luck, but his goal seems closer every day.
Zynga: Social game developer Zynga is probably the hottest Silicon Valley start-up you've never heard of.
From microblogging to location-based services to green auto technology, social gaming, genetic testing, e-commerce and digital music, a new generation of start-ups is poised to lead the technology world into the next decade. The slowdown of the early 1990s preceded the rapid growth of the first generation of iconic Internet companies -- AOL (AOL), which owns and operates The recession of the early 2000s set the stage for the emergence of a whole new generation of Web start-ups that have capitalized on exploding Internet growth and the rapid proliferation of broadband.
economy emerges from recession, a new crop of start-ups is blooming. The creative destruction wrought by economic downturns creates the conditions for new ideas to flourish and new firms to hatch.
Tightly integrated with Twitter and social networks, Tumblr is quickly becoming the microblogging format of choice for young, tech-savvy Web users -- over 6 million of them have already signed up. Company founder Anne Wojcicki is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and the search giant has invested nearly million in the company, which has quickly garnered a devoted following in Silicon Valley and among technophiles and futurists.
Originally adopted by coastal hipsters, Tumblr has quickly attracted the attention of major media companies. 23and Me allows clients to discover information about their own genome and family history.
Tesla scored a coup recently by joining with Toyota to produce electric-powered RAV4 sports-utility vehicles, which could hit the market in 2012.