In­ter­net Turns 30

Distinguished Magazine - - CONTENTS - KOEL CHAT­TER­JEE

While In­ter­net al­ready ex­isted in 1989, it was the World Wide Web which uti­lized the po­ten­tial of technology to link in­for­ma­tion and make it ac­ces­si­ble to all.

The World Wide Web is 30 this year. We re­flect upon the dif­fer­ent mile­stones that have made a mark in the his­tory of the in­ter­net. While In­ter­net al­ready ex­isted in 1989, it was the World Wide Web which uti­lized the po­ten­tial of technology to link in­for­ma­tion and make it ac­ces­si­ble to all. Sir Tim Bern­ers-Lee, the in­ven­tor of the World Wide Web, had first made a pro­posal to The Eu­ro­pean Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Nu­clear Re­search (CERN), which ex­plained the ideas that would evolve into the HTML, web URLs and HTTP. Even to­day these same con­cepts re­main the ba­sic pil­lars of in­ter­net. How­ever, a lot of sig­nif­i­cant events have hap­pened in these three decades. Here’s a look at some of the most mem­o­rable mile­stones.

1989: WORLD WIDE WEB WAS CRE­ATED

Sir Tim Bern­ers-Lee sub­mits a pro­posal to the CERN in March 1989. The pro­posal that was made to his su­pe­rior, Mike Sen­dall, was to de­velop an in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment sys­tem, which Sen­dall thought it was “vague, but ex­cit­ing”. This pro­posal was the first to lay out the con­cepts of the programmin­g lan­guage, HTML, web­site URLs, and the idea of HTTP. These three ba­sic con­cepts are still in­dis­pens­able to this day and func­tion as the foundation of the World Wide Web.

1991: WORLD’S FIRST WEB­SITE BUILT

The first web server and the first web­site were cre­ated by CERN and launched. They went live on the NeXT com­puter of Tim Bern­ers-Lee, and it was a ba­sic in­for­ma­tion page about the new technology of the web, which was de­scribed as “a wide-area hy­per­me­dia in­for­ma­tion re­trieval ini­tia­tive aim­ing to give uni­ver­sal ac­cess to a large uni­verse of doc­u­ments”. This page would even­tu­ally evolve into the in­ter­net as we know it now.

1993: WORLD WIDE WEB BE­COMES PUB­LIC DO­MAIN

On April 30th 1993, CERN made the World Wide Web avail­able on a roy­alty free ba­sis, when they is­sued a state­ment declar­ing the same. This was a sin­gu­larly mo­men­tous event, as with­out this, the in­ter­net would never have evolved into the per­va­sive net­work of the cur­rent times, ac­ces­si­ble for ev­ery­one.

1993: THE FIRST SEARCH EN­GINE WAS LAUNCHED

The W3 Cat­a­log, or the W3C was cre­ated on 2nd Septem­ber, 1993. This can­not be com­pared to the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of search en­gines with web crawlers, as it was mainly a di­rec­tory of ex­ist­ing web­sites, which were seg­mented into in­di­vid­ual en­tries which came up in search re­sults.

Just a cou­ple of months af­ter W3C, a se­cond search en­gine called ALIWEB was launched.

1994: THE FIRST BLOG AND THE FIRST WEB-HOST­ING SER­VICE

All the blog­gers on the in­ter­net have jour­nal­ist Justin Hall to thank, for show­ing them the way. Hall had started his blog “Links from Un­der­ground” in or­der to share snip­pets from his life and the web­site links that he had found to be in­ter­est­ing. Twenty five years later, the first blog­ger of the in­ter­net is still blog­ging on his site.

As the num­ber of web­sites kept grow­ing, the in­abil­ity of host a web­site from a per­sonal com­puter be­came a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem, which was solved by the launch of the first ever web-host­ing ser­vice, GeoCi­ties. The ser­vice which was pur­chased later by Ya­hoo, ended in March 31, 2019.

1994: THE FIRST E-COM­MERCE SITE WAS LAUNCHED

The first foray into the e-com­merce space was un­sur­pris­ingly a web­site which sold books, Books.com, the web­site of Books Stacks Un­lim­ited. The first e-com­merce trans­ac­tion was in the same year, though on a dif­fer­ent web­site, Net­mar­ket. The first com­mod­ity to be sold through such a trans­ac­tion was the CD of an al­bum of St­ing.

1994: THE FIRST ON­LINE BAN­NER AD

As ob­served in the ear­lier points, 1994 was an event­ful year for the in­ter­net. Apart from the in­no­va­tions mentioned above, the year also wit­nessed the launch of the first mo­bile browser, Pock­etWeb, and the first on­line ban­ner ads, launched by Hotwired, the web­site of Wired, to AT&T. The ad was pub­lished on­line on Oc­to­ber 27.

1997: THE FIRST SO­CIAL ME­DIA NET­WORK

A far cry from the likes of Mys­pace, Orkut, Face­book, In­sta­gram or any other so­cial me­dia plat­form of to­day, SixDe­grees can be called the first so­cial me­dia plat­form. The web­site in­cluded user pro­files, school af­fil­i­a­tions, and had friend lists. It still ex­ists, but has trans­formed into an ex­clu­sive site where one needs a re­fer­ral code from an ex­ist­ing mem­ber to en­ter.

1997: WI-FI IS BORN

Though Wi-Fi al­ready ex­isted be­fore 1997, it was in this year that the In­sti­tute of Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tron­ics En­gi­neers cer­ti­fied it, and cre­ated the 802.11 stan­dard. This nomen­cla­ture sig­ni­fied that this technology was be­ing made avail­able to all.

1998: 3G IS BORN

In­tro­duc­tion of 3G net­works was made in this year, which made the in­ter­net faster and al­lowed seam­less video calling and bet­ter mo­bile in­ter­net browsing ex­pe­ri­ence.

1999: IN­TER­NET OF THINGS (IOT) IS IN­TRO­DUCED

The con­cept of IoT was pre­sented by Kevin Ash­ton, in a pre­sen­ta­tion to Proc­ter & Gam­ble (P&G).

2008: 4G IS BORN

Re­leased al­most 20 years af­ter the World Wide Web, 4G sup­ported faster mo­bile in­ter­net, which fa­cil­i­tated HD mo­bile gam­ing, video con­fer­enc­ing, live stream­ing ses­sions and a host of other fea­tures which could have never been in­tro­duced with­out high speed.

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