25 biggest moments in Internet history

The Web turned 25 this week. To celebrate, we look back on some of its most important milestones VIDEO

Topics: Video, GlobalPost, Internet, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Britain, ,

25 biggest moments in Internet historyFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Credit: AP/Eric Risberg)
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Global Post It’s 25 years to the day since a computer scientist invented a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the internet — or, the world wide web, or, the way that we now work, play, talk, share, search and find.

To celebrate an invention that has quite literally changed lives, here are 25 firsts from the first 25 years of the web.

1989: British scientist Tim Berners-Lee submits a proposal to his bosses at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, making the case for a “‘web’ of notes with links (like references) between them” to help researchers access and share data more easily.

1990: The world’s first website, a text-only effort describing the World Wide Web or “W3” browser, goes live on the world’s first server. It was run on Tim Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer at CERN, which is now on display at the organization’s museum.

1991: Scientists at Cambridge University build a prototype webcam. Taking three shots per minute, it is trained on the computer lab coffee pot to allow academics anywhere in the building to see when a fresh batch has been brewed.

1992: Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues upload what was arguably the first photo to appear on the web, a scanned .gif version of a shot of CERN’s house band, Les Horribles Cernettes. The idea was to prove that the web didn’t have to be about just physics.



1993: CERN puts its World Wide Web software into the public domain, granting permission for anyone to “use, duplicate, modify and redistribute it.” It was the beginning of mass W3 development.

1993: Swiss developer Oscar Nierstrasz builds one of the earliest web search engines, W3 Catalog.

1994: WebCrawler becomes the first search engine to enable full-text searches, allowing users to look for keywords anywhere on any webpage.

1994: One of the first known online purchases takes place. It’s an order for a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza — with extra cheese — from Pizza Hut’s “electronic storefront,”PizzaNet.

1994: The White House gets its first website, an “interactive citizens’ handbook” that allows users to find the latest presidential statements and browse pictures of the First Family. Bill Clinton and Al Gore are the first POTUS and VPOTUS respectively to have official email addresses: president@whitehouse.gov and vice-president@whitehouse.gov.

1994: The first banner ad appears. Featured on HotWired.com and promoting AT&T’s telecoms services, it reads: “Have you ever clicked your mouse right HERE? You will.”

1994: Twenty-year-old American student Justin Hall is credited with creating the world’s first internet-based diary (a blog, if you will, though the term had yet to be invented). He would maintain it for the next 11 years.

1995: Craigslist, the brainchild of “self-described nerd” Craig Newmark, begins listing San Francisco-area events online. It would later become one of the world’s most visited — and often, weirdest — websites.

1995: The first sales take place on AuctionWeb — or, as we know it now, eBay. They include a broken laser pointer (sold for $14.83), autographed Marky Mark underwear ($400) and a Superman lunchbox ($22).

1995: The world gets its first dating website, the “interactive digital personals service” that is Match.com.

1995: Windows releases its first browser, Internet Explorer 1.0, setting the stage for the so-called “Browser Wars.”

1996: The launch of Hotmail — or as it was then, HoTMaiL — one of the world’s first web-based messaging services to bring free email to the masses. Within 18 months it has several million customers.

1996: Release of ‘Dancing Baby,’ a 3D animation of a, er, dancing baby that will explode on forums, websites and email to become one of the world’s first viral videos.

1997: Entrepreneurs Larry Page and Sergey Brin register the domain Google.com, with the aim to “to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.”

1997: American programmer Jorn Barger coins the term “weblog” to describe a record, or log, of his online reading. The term is transformed into “we blog” and then simply “blog” by online author Peter Merholz in 1999. From there, it’s a short step to the verb “to blog” and the noun “blogger.”

1998: An odd phrase in the English version of a Japanese arcade game gives rise to one of the earliest internet memes. What’s more, “All your base are belong to us” goes on to inspires thousands of image-edited versions in the early 2000s, making it one of the first examples of the Photoshop phenomenon.

1999: One of the first major scandals to be caused by an online leak ensues when the names of British intelligence agents appear on a US-based website. The case sends the UK government into a flurry as it attempts to stop the list circulating, demonstrating how difficult it is for anyone — even authorities — to prevent the spread of information online (hello, Wikileaks!).

2000: Some of the world’s most-used websites, including eBay, Amazon and Yahoo, are hit by the biggest denial of service attack to date. The culprit turns out to be a Canadian teenager who goes by the alias “MafiaBoy.”

2004: Launch of “the Facebook,” designed by Harvard University students. More than 1,000 undergraduates sign up within the first 24 hours. The rest is timeline.

)

2012: Several of the world’s favorite websites join what’s billed as the largest online protest in history against two proposed US bills that the government says will protect copyright, but that critics call censorship. The legislation is shelved indefinitely.

2014: As the web turns a quarter of a century, founding father Tim Berners-Lee calls for an internet bill of rights to protect web users’ privacy and freedom of speech. “Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it,” he warns. “So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...