It’s hard to imagine a world without the World Wide Web, but in reality it hasn’t been that long since it was invented. In fact, last week commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Internet going live for the very first time.
While the concept was first announced on 6 August 1991, the web wasn’t released to the public until 23 August 1991. With statistics showing there are currently more than 3.4 billion Internet users worldwide, it’s fair to say that creator Sir Tim-Berners-Lee from CERN has changed the world in more ways than anyone could have predicted.
Sir Berners-Lee created the protocol for the World Wide Web in 1980 by using a NeXT machine – a computer developed by Apple’s late CEO, Steve Jobs – to create a database of software models and people. He then designed the use of hypertext, with the idea of pages linking to other pages. Spanning the next decade, he worked hard to develop all of this and by 1989, he had proposed the idea of a “universally linked system” that would assist people in their everyday lives. There were initially varying degrees of approval, with many people calling its premise ‘vague, but exciting.’
So, what did the Internet look like all those years ago? Well, obviously it was nowhere near as advanced as it is now. There was only one website available to the public, and it consisted of a few hyperlinks and basic text describing how CERN envisioned the Internet to be.
According to recent reports, internet traffic is rapidly increasing by 22 percent a year, and its demand for bandwidth is far exceeding supply. However, there are still people, particularly those outside of western societies, who have insufficient access to it. Sir Berners-Lee is striving to make the Internet accessible to everyone, as he believes we all deserve the same privileges.
“As we reminisce on the web’s past, we should remember that we are all responsible for its future, and must take action on critical issues like connecting everyone affordably, protecting the web from overzealous government and corporate control, and opening up public data for everyone to benefit from,” said International web standards organisation, W3c, which Sir Berners-Lee is the founder of.
Sir Berners-Lee is now also leading a project which attempts to democratise the Internet and shift the power from US giant tech companies to regular everyday people. He hopes this will assist in equally distributing access, as even after 25 years of its creation, it is ‘underserved at best’ and according to him, has ‘room for improvement.’
“The decision to make the web an open system was necessary for it to be universal. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it,” Sir Berners-Lee said in a post on his website.
Let’s hope this special anniversary marks further development for the Internet. After all, we don’t want anyone to miss out on the phenomenon that is the World Wide Web!