Public Internet access is a quarter of a century old this month. Envisioned in 1989 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web went on to become the most influential invention of the 20th century when it was finally released to the general public in 1991. With the advent of hypertext protocol (HTTP) design, computers were now capable to communicate with each other through the web on an already established Internet network.
What we now know as the Internet actually existed before 1989. Many networks like BITNET, AlterNet, and CompuServe “spoke” to each other through exchanging email and files; however, unless you were on one of these networks, your computer (if you had one at the time) could not connect. All that changed with the official “birth” of the Internet although the exact date is a pinpoint of some controversy.
There are two dates that have been widely disputed as the World Wide Web’s official birthdate. The first is the date that the project was announced on August 6, 1991. The second date, August 23, 1991, is more popularly celebrated as it was the actual date the service was made publicly available. Sir Berners-Lee questions the latter day himself and instead celebrates March 12, 1989, citing the date his initial proposal was presented.
Submitted to his employers at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), Sir Berners-Lee’s “Information Management: A Proposal” laid the groundwork to the future of global communication. Although the world’s first web site would be considered very simple in comparison to today’s designs, it marked the beginning of a revolution that would change the way we look at and consume media, news, and information, advertising and marketing, and, of course, instant communication from all points across the world. At Netsville, we celebrate the Internet everyday. So whatever the date, we want to acknowledge the significance of this month and thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee for unarguably one of the top 5 inventions of all time.
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