It was 20 years ago today. No, not Sgt. Pepper -- the World Wide Web, the Internet as we know it, which became public on August 6th, 1991.
Tim Berners-Lee inaugurated the World Wide Web in typically understated fashion, nothing more than a project statement on alt.hypertext newsgroup, a brief guide to downloading the WorldWideWeb browser, and a link to try it out: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html (feel free to try it out; though updated since then, it still exists, proudly describing itself as "The website of the world's first-ever web server").
The newsgroup post stated that "The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system. The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should be freely available to anyone. It aims to allow information sharing within internationally dispersed teams, and the dissemination of information by support groups."
The WWW project itself dated back to 1989, at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). Berners-Lee, a physicist, and systems engineer Robert Cailliau wanted to connect the Internet with personal computers by way of hypertext.
Of course, the initial genesis of the project goes back to the remote terminals of the 1950s and 60s, and especially to 1969's ARPANET. For the next decade, more networks came about, ultimately necessitating the 'official' adoption of TCP/IP throughout the 1980s and the coining of the name "The Internet"...all while the various interconnected computers were still somewhat out of reach of the public.
Berners-Lee simply wanted a way to browse the various documents, to create and share in a more creative and unrestricted space. On a NeXT computer, Berners-Lee developed the browser, and the first true instance of the Web was up and running by the end of 1990 on a CERN server. The technology, admittedly, was significantly advanced compared to the computers that Berners-Lee intended to connect to; a plain text version was created to make the first version of the project truly independent of platforms.
For the first few years, growth was slow. It wasn't until December that the World Wide Web appeared in the United States, and one year later there were still only two-dozen or so servers in the entire world. However, a few months later, CERN made the World Wide Web free (possibly the Internet's favorite word)...and at the same time, PCs and Macintosh computers were given the Mosaic browser, which (despite not being technically the first WWW browser) truly started the personal computers' first Internet boom.
James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com . Nationwide Biweekly Administration helps you pay off your mortgage loan 6-10 years early and save THOUSANDS in interest with their proven Interest Minimizer bi-weekly mortgage payment plan from Nationwide Biweekly Administration.