Happy 25th Birthday, Web! You've come a long way, baby.
In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, a physics software student working as a software engineer at CERN, wrote a paper titled 'Information Management: A Proposal' - which aimed to pool information in "a universal linked information system". He then went on to write HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol), HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and WorldWideWeb - the first ever Internet browser. The Web was born.
In 1993, at the tender age of four, the technology was made available for use by all, and in the next few years millions of people got hooked on the ease of information provided at their fingertips. Since then, numbers have steadily grown from millions to billions. Most youth of today do not know of a world without the Web.
It changed the way we communicate, the way we shop, the way we travel, the way we live.
The World Wide Web has brought a wealth of information to the masses, many people have shifted activities of their everyday lives into a virtual world. You can find just about anything on the web - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Key Points in the Evolution of the Web
- The first web page was published in 1995, at which point only 14% of Americans were using it - that number has grown to 87% today.
- By 1996 publicly traded companies see the selling power and e-commerce enters the scene.
- From 1997-2001 there is a surge in the dotcom market, which collapsed during 1999-2001.
- E-commerce takes off with sites like Google, eBay and Amazon, as well as technology disruptors like online travel and hotel bookings.
- 2002 heralded the era of blogging as the web opens up for self-publishing and public contribution.
- Social networking for the masses, whose introduction to the world was pioneered by the likes of MySpace in 2003 and Facebook in 2005, continues to grow and evolve.
- The rise of multi-touch smartphones since 2007 has significantly pushed mobile Web use, and as numbers continue to grow, use of the mobile web will exceed web access from desktop computers.
- The top 3 visited sites today are Google.com, Facebook.com and YouTube.com.
Sir Tim Berners Lee’s original vision was "a collaborative medium, a place where we [could] all meet and read and write". Mission accomplished. The next stage will be to make this accessible for all - three in five people worldwide still do not have access to the Web.
Sir Tim marks this anniversary as an important milestone that he is hoping "will spark a global conversation about our need to defend principles that have made the Web successful, and to unlock the Web's untapped potential".
"If we want a Web that is truly for everyone, then everyone must play a role in shaping its next 25 years."
What do you want the Web to be? Sir Tim is calling on you to make suggestions. You can do so online at webat25.org, or by social media with the hashtag #web25.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee marks 25 years of World Wide Web by ITN News
Welcome to the Web’s 25th Anniversary - a Message from Tim Berners-Lee by Web25
Also, check out this article on InformationWeek for 10 great infographics on how the World Wide Web has evolved.