Key Moments in Internet History for International Internet Day

Few inventions have disrupted life as we know it as thoroughly as the internet. It’s changed the way we work, play — and even how we talk. After the dawn of the internet, our day-to-day lives were forever changed.

As a web-based business, and in honor of International Internet Day, we thought it would be fun to celebrate by taking a look at how we got here. Here’s a compilation of standout moments in internet history:

Internet Years 1990 to 1997

  • In 1990, we witnessed the creation of the world’s first website; a rudimentary effort that was text-based, describing the workings of the World Wide Web (WWW) browser. It ran on the server created on WWW-inventor Tim Berners-Lee’s Computer at CERN.
  • In that same year, Berners-Lee created three programming languages that are still in use today. These include the notable Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Uniform Resource Locator (URL) as well as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
  • The first prototype webcam was set up in 1990 by scientists at Cambridge University. It was originally designed so staff members would know the availability of fresh coffee in the laboratory and other designated areas, taking three shots per minute.
  • Tim Berners-Lee and his team took another historic step: the CERN organization put its proprietary World Wide Web into the public sphere. The action granted individuals and companies the permission/power to use, duplicate, and redistribute the software as they deemed fit. This free license precipitated the mass propagation of the “www” movement.
  • Jeff Bezos caught early with the web bug when he established Amazon in 1994. Be thankful that Bezos ditched his initial name choice for the store — Cadabra, chiefly because a colleague referred to it as cadaver.
  • In 1994, the White House registered the first official email addresses for the President and Vice President (as at the time, Bill Clinton and Al Gore). Their email addresses were [email protected], and [email protected], respectively.
  • In 1995 the world’s first dating website offered interactive digital personal service, known to all today as Match.com (and now owned by the same company as Felix!).
  • In 1995, the world welcomed HotMail, or HoTMaiL. It was the world’s first web-based messaging service that brought free emails to the general populace. Within a short time following HotMail’s release, over 18 million people had created accounts on the platform.

Internet Years 1997 To 2005

  • The internet received a linguistic license for the creation of words that would soon become a part of the modern vocabulary. All thanks to American programmer Jorn Barger, who coined the term “weblog to describe a record, or log. The word undergoes further transformations to terms like “weblog” and then “blog” by online author Peter Merholz, two years later. This caused linguists to create the verb “to blog” and the noun “blogger” for everyday use.
  • In 1997, two young, inconspicuous men, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin, registered a domain to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web, for easy access by anyone seeking such information. That day we said hello to Google.com, the third most valuable online brand in the world at present.
  • The dark side of the World Wide Web rears its head in 1999. The world is shocked when the names of British Secret Service Agents appear on a US website, in arguably the first online leak of enormous proportions. The event sees the UK Government scurrying to prevent the list from circulating any further, highlighting the difficulties individuals and authorities will face in keeping online information safe and secured.
  • 2001 saw the creation of Wikipedia.
  • In 2004, a group of Harvard students, led by Mark Zuckerberg, created “The Facebook.” It now has over 2 billion monthly active users.

Internet Years 2005 to Today

While many can still remember a world without the internet, most of those same people now rely on it daily. As the internet continues to evolve, we see the future play out before our eyes. Here’s where we are today:

  • YouTube was born in 2005. Check out the first video published on the platform
  • Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram in October 2010. It’s currently the leading photo sharing app in the world.
  • In 2014, founding father of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee expresses concerns about the infringement of the rights of people to access the internet without any encumbrances. He proposed the passing of an internet bill of rights to protect web users’ privacy and freedom of speech.
  • In 2017, Facebook was reported to have 2 billion active monthly users (A sixth of the world’s population).

And there you have it! Happy International Internet Day!