With 2014 being the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the internet, it seems hard to remember a time when we were without it. The internet has revolutionised so many different aspects of our lives, from the way we conduct our business lives, to the way we shop, study and socialise. Here are some of the key events in the development of the internet as we know it today.
1989 – 1995
The internet is mainly the preserve of academics and technology experts. In 1989, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee sees the potential for the technology to be used more widely, and thinks it could be useful for sharing information around the world for scientific research purposes. He writes a paper entitled “Information Management: A Proposal”. This paper forms the foundation of the World Wide Web.
The Mosaic 1.0 browser is introduced. Although not the first browser, it would become revolutionary for its ability to display text and images on the same page – a massive leap forward for HTML programming.
The innovative Microsoft Windows 95 operating system is introduced, contributing hugely towards the availability of affordable internet access in homes across the world. This is also the year Amazon, eBay and Match.com are launched, going on to become some of the world’s most widely used sites and having an enormous impact on the way we shop and meet people online.
The Google.com domain is registered by Sergey Brin and Larry Page. From humble beginnings, Google will go on to become the world’s most popular search engine, currently handling more than five billion enquiries every single day.
With bandwidth increasing at a rapid rate, more and more people are getting internet access at home. In the year 2000, it’s estimated that more than 360 million people across the world are online.
Wikipedia is born. Publishing services such as Blogger enable people to write personal articles and diaries online to share with the world. With the introduction of portable MP3 players, audio podcasts also become a possibility for people who want to communicate with a worldwide audience.
Social media explodes in popularity with the introduction of Myspace and LinkedIn. Skype is launched, allowing people to engage in audio conversations over the internet. Skype video calls using webcams will be introduced in another two years.
Mark Zuckerberg creates the earliest version of “The Facebook”. The social media phenomenon is at first intended only for the use of Zuckerberg’s fellow Harvard students, but becomes available to all in 2006. In 2014, Facebook has 1.2 billion registered users.
Gmail, Adobe Flash and Google Maps are launched. YouTube is created and eventually becomes the world’s most popular site for sharing and viewing videos, widely used by individuals and businesses alike. In 2006, Google will buy YouTube for $1.65 billion.
Communicating, sharing videos and written content, and other methods of interactivity become more and more widespread as people seek to take an active role in the internet rather than simply consuming. Sites which allow for a much greater level of interactivity are described as Web 2.0 sites.
Twitter is launched and introduces a unique way for businesses and individuals to communicate, using 140-character “tweets”.
2007 The first iPhone is launched, giving people the possibility of carrying internet access wherever they go. By 2013, over 20% of people worldwide will own a smartphone. More businesses begin to store their important information and applications on “the cloud”. These are servers hosted on the internet, as opposed to on a computer or a local server.
2007 – 2010
As we come to rely on the internet more and more, there is more demand for access to the internet even when we are away from home. As a result, it becomes increasingly common to see broadband and Wi-Fi access in many public spaces, from coffee shops to hotels.
Music streaming services Spotify and Soundcloud are launched, changing the way people share and listen to music online.
As more and more people now own smartphones, they begin to upload and share photos more often than ever before. Instagram and Pinterest are introduced, and the phenomenon of the “selfie” takes off.
More than two billion people across the world are now online. The internet has become an invaluable part of modern life and something that many of us have come to rely on. There have been countless exciting developments throughout the lifespan of the internet – who knows what is going to come next? All we know for sure is that the World Wide Web is still evolving and will continue to do so well into the future.