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These are the greatest inventions of the 21st century (apparently)

These are the greatest inventions of the 21st century (apparently)

These are the greatest inventions of the 21st century (apparently)
28 January 2016

We know - we also thought the greatest invention of the 21st century was the gadget that peeled apples at the same time as coring them. Think of the minutes saved in preparation of healthy snacks. Minutes!

But then, we didn't fill out YouGov's poll on the greatest inventions of the 21st century, so we've only got ourselves to blame.

Having asked an 'accurate' sample of 1,736 British citizens, these are apparently the most important consumer inventions of the modern age.

(Image: Shutterstock)


Less than one per cent

A lot of single people in that sample group, clearly.


One per cent

Remember when music piracy was a cool and albums took a day to download? Ah, those were the days...


One per cent

A separate survey of black cab drivers didn't feature this entry.

Selfie Sticks

One per cent


Nintendo Wii

One per cent

The first device to get all the family around the TV outside the month of December.


Two per cent

One of the most important breakthroughs in technology and entertainment - but your mum still doesn't know how to make a playlist.


Three per cent

The first of Apple's inclusions in the list.

MSN Messenger

Three per cent

Nineties kids, represent. This is tool that taught us to touch type.


Three per cent



Four per cent

Now owned by Facebook, this little marvel is the most used messaging app in the world, with 900 million active monthly users. That's a LOT of emojis. 


Five per cent

It's popularity has waned in the face of smartphones, but the iPod was the first popular device that made the concept of keeping an entire music collection in your pocket seem totally normal. 


Five per cent

With or without chill.


Five per cent

Only problem is, they're not making enough money...


Nine per cent

Because if it doesn't look better than real life, it's not worth watching.


Nine per cent

Tech 1 - 0 Traditional print


11 per cent

Given that it launched in 1998, Google can't feature in the list of best inventions of the 21st century - but it's video sibling is here to represent the wider search family. Some four billion videos are watched on the site every day. Every. Day.


12 per cent

Helping with home work projects and pub arguments since 2001.

The Cloud

14 per cent

Yep. An astonishing proportion of the sample thought cloud computing was worthy of this position. For massive infrastructure, it's world-changing, but for consumers? Kids these days...


20 per cent

In the modern era, we no longer have arguments with other people about map reading - we have arguments with technology about map reading.


20 per cent

"You mean you used to have to pay to make phone calls overseas?" - your future grandchildren.


23 per cent



25 per cent

We're still not exactly sure what you're supposed to do with them, but iPads and tablets are killing laptops in a big way, so they must be useful for something?


55 per cent

The obvious answer - more than half the sample thought the most important device of the century was the pocket-dwelling super phone. We live in a world where it's totally normal to spend upwards of £400 on a new handset, just because the battery on the old one is playing up. Love them or loathe them, they've changed everything.