A beautifully executed, simple guide to typing curly quotes by Chris Bracco, which I have directed at least three people to recently. How long have these standards and technologies been in the wild now? About 20 years. But, much like extra spacing after periods, curly quotes were a victim of digitization, which required drastic simplification in the early days.
Bonus tip: on most software keyboards for smartphones and tablets, you can get curly quotes by holding down the quotes key.