25 milestones for the World Wide Web's 25th birthday
Marlene Leung, Corinne Ton That, Christina Commisso, Maurice Cacho, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, March 12, 2014 5:37PM EDT
From the first proposal for the web to the latest tweet to cause Twitter to stumble, here's a look at 25 major milestones to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.
March 12, 1989: 'Vague but exciting'
British computer scientist Timothy Berners-Lee presents a proposal about an information management system to his colleagues at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. His boss calls the proposal "vague but exciting." The proposal lays the groundwork for what will eventually become the World Wide Web, a system of accessing information on the Internet.
1990: First web server, browser go live
The world's first web server and web browser go live, with Berners-Lee's NeXT computer acting as host. By the end of 1990, Berners-Lee also builds the first website http://line-mode.cern.ch/www/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html , which is dedicated to explaining the World Wide Web.
1990: Montreal students create 'Archie' search engine
Postgraduate students from McGill and Concordia University create a tool called “Archie,” which allows people to find specific files on the Internet. Archie, which required users to log in before searching for information, is considered the first Internet search engine.
1991: World Wide Web released to the public
An early build of the web is released to the public via Internet newsgroups, and two years later CERN announces that the web will be free for anyone to use.
1993: Mosaic web browser launched
A team from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Illinois releases a version of the Mosaic web browser. Mosaic is the first browser to display text and images together on the same page, and is credited with popularizing the web.
1994: 'GeoCities' soars
Web hosting company Beverly Hills Internet creates GeoCities – a web directory based off of different neighbourhoods in California. By mid-1995, GeoCities is opened up to users, so they may create their own homepages within those neighbourhoods. When a user signed up, the neighbourhood became part of their web address.
1994: 'Jerry's guide to the World Wide Web' is born
Before there was "Yahoo!" there was a website called "Jerry's guide to the World Wide Web." Founded in January 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo – and renamed in March of that year -- the website was a directory of other websites that was organized in a hierarchy, rather than an index of searchable pages. The domain "yahoo.com" was created one year later.
1994: Online banking debuts
In November 1993, Stanford Federal Credit Union, based out of Palo Alto, Calif., conducted its first four Internet transactions. In 1994, it became the first financial institution to offer online banking when it launched its website.
1994: Bezos creates Amazon.com
The world's largest online retailer had humbler beginnings, first branding itself as the world's largest book seller. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos initially started the company by creating a list of 20 products he believed could be marketed online, and whittling it down to five. He decided to start with books due to their global popularity and low price points.
1995: eBay auction site opens
Iranian-American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar creates AuctionWeb, an online auction website that eventually becomes eBay. One of the first items sold on the site was a broken laser pointer for $14.83. When Omidyar contacted the winning bidder to tell him the pointer was broken, the bidder reportedly replied: "I'm a collector of broken laser pointers."
1995: Internet Explorer
Although initially released by Microsoft in 1995, Internet Explorer didn't begin to make gains until Version 2 was released in 1996. Version 2 of the web browser was included in the company's "Internet Starter Kit for Windows 95" and retailed for about $20.
1996: Mobile web comes to cell phones
The Nokia 9000 Communicator, weighing a whopping 397 g, was the world’s first production phone that could connect to the Internet, browse web pages and send/receive email. Nokia called it a move towards “the wireless pocketable office.”
First called Mirabilis, ICQ kick-started instant messaging on the web. The co-founders say they created the tool as a way to instantly connect people using the Internet. Users were assigned ICQ numbers, which could be used to contact others. The company was acquired in 1998 by AOL, though the instant messaging service still runs today. http://www.icq.com/info/
1996: Cybercriminals go Phishing
The term was first used on Jan. 2, 1996 in an AOL Usenet newgroup to describe spoof emails requesting personal information such as passwords and banking information.
1998: 'Don't be evil' – Google incorporated
Search engine Google was incorporated by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998. Unlike other search engines at the time, Google determines a website's relevance based on the relationships it has with other websites. The company's mission statement from the get-go was to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Its unofficial slogan was "Don't be evil."
1999: Napster launches peer-to-peer file sharing
Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning, John Fanning and Sean Parker initially envisioned Napster as an independent peer-to-peer service, which allowed the sharing of audio files, typically encoded in MP3 format. The company was shut down by court order in 2001, but was later acquired by Roxio, then by Rhapsody from Best Buy in 2011.
1999: Blogger launched by Pyra Labs
Blogger, launched by Pyra Labs, is recognized as one of the earliest tools that popularized blogging. Pyra Labs was later acquired by Google in 2003.
2001: BitTorrent is born
The BitTorrent platform is created by Bram Cohen as a way to share files over peer-to-peer networks, whereby users sharing the same file co-operatively share bits of it to other users. BitTorrent would eventually fill a void for file sharing users left by the departure of Napster.
2003: "I'll Skype you"
The service first let people make free voice calls between users in 2003. Today, and now owned by Microsoft, Skype users can text, screen share, make video calls and set up phone numbers using local digits.
2004: Flickr, Web 2.0
Ludicorp created the image and video hosting website in 2004 as a way for users to share and embed personal photographs and videos with an online community. Flickr is often credited as a defining member of so-called Web 2.0 sites, which allow users to interact and collaborate in a virtual world.
2004: Facebook: The social networking site is born
Founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Harvard University students, Facebook initially limited the website’s membership to fellow Harvard students. The site later opened up to high school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over.
2005: “Me at the zoo” uploaded to YouTube
“Me at the zoo,” the first-ever video uploaded to YouTube, was posted by the site’s co-founder Jawed Karim in 2005. The video features Karim at the zoo standing in front of elephants. The video, which is still online, has been viewed more than 13 million times.
Creators Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass launch Twitter: a microblogging and social networking service that enables users to send 140-character “tweets.” As of February 2014, the four most popular accounts belonged to Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama and Lady Gaga.
2012: Obama hosts Google hangout
U.S. President Barack Obama marked a new digital landmark when he held the first all-digital interview from the White House. The video chat was conducted via a Google+ hangout and saw more than 227,000 people submit questions.
2014: The tweet heard round the world
Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres’s selfie, which featured a slew of Hollywood heavyweights from the 2014 Academy Awards, set a new Twitter record, garnering more than 3.3 million retweets. The previous record-holder was U.S. President Barack Obama’s victory tweet from 2012, which had more than 500,000 retweets.