The Greatest App of All Time Day 16: Twitch vs. Calculator

The Greatest App of All Time Day 16: Twitch vs. Calculator

It’s Day 16 of Gizmodo’s March Madness bracket challenge to name the greatest app of all time and Yo has fallen! Uber will go to the next round and it will be taking on one of today’s nominees. Today we have the streamer’s app of choice going up against one of the oldest and most reliable apps on a phone.

If you’re just tuning in, you can read all about our selection criteria for this historic contest right here. Check out the full bracket of contestants embedded below. And as always, if you think we missed your personal favorite app of all time, yell at us in the comments. Now, let’s get into today’s contestants.

As early as the mid-1990s, platforms like Josh Harris’s Pseudo.com were trying to make online livestreaming a reality but the limits of dial-up data transfers hobbled their efforts. It took until 2007, when two guys launched Justin.tv for the potential of livestreams to become clear. As the popularity of streaming video game playthroughs took off on the platform, executives at the company saw an opportunity to spin off a dedicated gaming service called Twitch and the web has never been the same.

Twitch is still the place to watch influencers play games for hours while talking to themselves, but it also overtook its predecessor as a place to stream anything you want. It has dedicated IRL sports leagues and podcasters and eGirls and musicians and political pundits and everything in between. Through its chat and donation functions, the passive audience became part of the show and a lot of its streamers got very rich off of a new kind of parasocial fandom. As with YouTube, this fandom also came with a fairly common toxicity that one might expect from anonymous teenagers. But at its best, Twitch can be a wholesome place for connection. When Twitch plays Pokémon together it can be magical.

Taking on Twitch in today’s bracket, we have the calculator app. Not a specific calculator, just whatever calculator is on your phone. We all have one. Calculators were even on dumb phones, but the arrival of the smartphone absolutely wiped out the need for most people to own a dedicated number-crunching device.

So, reader, what’ll it be? Should Twitch go on to challenge Uber in the next round, or will Calculator’s mundane usefulness win the day?

Here are the nominees. Choose your fighter.

Here are the nominees. Choose your fighter.
Graphic: Vicky Leta

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