The intent of this project is to provide a reference (for PMs, devs, designers, VCs, and anyone else who geeks out on product) about what successful products have looked like, both at launch and beyond. There is often (always?) an internal struggle about 'the MVP feature set' prior to a new launch, and internal debates about how and when to launch specific features. In my experience, these debates are often most challenging in large companies with deep pockets, who have more to lose with a failed launch (both in terms of corporate and executive reputation). In reality, the most critical element of launching a successful new product in an existing market is providing strong differentiation in a key area or two (or even better - meeting a previously unmet customer need!), rather than attempting to be incrementally better across multiple vectors. 'Me too' products will always be playing catch-up to those already in the market.
In these moments, it's helpful to be reminded that Instagram's Android app didn't launch until 1.5 years after the iPhone app was released, or that Snapchat didn't add video until over 12 months after its first product launched. I believe there is a lot of value to be gained from analyzing past successes and failures, and in recognizing which features launched when, and in what sequence. Before taking on this effort, I searched for a compilation of product feature timelines but couldn't find an existing aggregated view. However, I did come across this similar effort, but for UX evolution.
I’ve collected data from various sources (e.g. Wikipedia, infographics, company blogs, archived articles, change-logs), and used timeline.js to build the actual timelines. I have tried to be as accurate as possible, but it's very likely there are some errors. If you see any, or are interested in the embed code for any of the timelines, please feel free to reach out. I plan to add additional products as I have time, but if you have suggestions, please let me know too! I also plan to add financial and usage/adoption related information as available to help correlate features with growth.
It's also worth noting that as a company and its product portfolio grows larger (e.g. Facebook), this evaluation becomes increasingly time consuming and (debatably) less useful. A company with abundant resources is able to direct efforts in multiple directions at once, and feature roll-outs become more frequent and more diverse. For this reason, in addition to my own time constraints, I tend to focus on the first few years of feature deployments, and have only included larger feature releases as a product becomes more mature.