The World Wide Web turns 20

The World Wide Web turns 20

The World Wide Web turns 20


The 6th of August, 2011 marked the world wide web’s twentieth birthday.  Indeed, exactly 20 years from the date, on the 6th of August, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee launched a new technology which would revolutionise the modern world.  His main aim was to create a way of sharing information between computers which operated on different platforms, and as we witness today, his idea has been of massive success.

The 6th of August, 2011 marked the twentieth year since the introduction of the web, a new technology which would revolutionise the world as we knew it.However, although difficult to divulge, on its inception, the world wide web did not draw that much hype. As a matter of fact, a great deal of people were not aware about this new outburst.  Nevertheless, this lack of popularity did not last for long.  Slow progressions started to be made when in 1992 the first picture ever was uploaded online.  It’s interesting to note that Berners-Lee’s choice for the web was a photo of the French parodic rock group Les Horribles Cernettes.  Developments advanced further when in 1993 CERN publicly stated that the World Wide Web was free for everyone.  Therefore, anyone could develop free of charge.  It goes without saying that this encouraged potential IT-people to get started in this new field.

Initially, there were various attempts at creating new browsers, with Mosaic being the preferred amongst all.  A short while after its introduction, Mosaic was made available for Windows, Unix, Commodore Amiga as well as the Mac OS, completely free of charge.  This release inspired the commercial introduction of Netscape.  Instead, Mosaic moved on to be the foundation of today’s Microsoft Internet Explorer.

The internet flared up as new web-browsers started to be developed at the same time that ISP businesses were being set up.  A case in point is the Compuserve company, which also managed to attract non-scientific users to the online world, giving birth to the Internet we know today.

It goes without saying that the Internet has become part and parcel of our everyday life.  It has practically infiltrated every aspect of our lifestyle, be it economy, communication and research. However, this revolution is not predicted to stop any time soon.  If anything, the Semantic Web is promising to radically change the Internet even further.  In short, the metadata collected from this innovative web should allow machines to process web data both directly and indirectly. 

The limit is bound to be stretched even more with ‘The Internet of Things’.  Conceivably, all physical objects would have some sort of identifier through which they would be able to transmit information about their location, amongst other things.  Such an advance in technology could possibly eliminate thefts, since every item’s location would be tracked.  Furthermore, companies would never run out of stock and flowers would never wilt since they would send an alert when they need watering.

The web’s advances are limitless and it’s difficult to predict what lies in store in the forthcoming years. For sure, it’s indisputable that what we’ve witnessed so far is only the Internet’s teen years and it goes without saying that a long and prosperous life is still ahead of it.


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