Internet Turns 30
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.