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The World Wide Web turns 30 today (March 12th), meaning it has been changing how we connect with friends, family and businesses for three decades. In fact, it has pretty much changed how we all live our lives, let alone market to people.
Created in 1989 by Tm Berners-Lee, the web started off as a proposal for a new information management system. The system was to connect documents held on different computers at his place of work. While his supervisor thought the idea was exciting, it was also highlighted as being vague to begin with.
Following the creation of the web, the first search engine was created in 1990. Called Archie, it was thought of and implemented by a student, paving the way for Google and other search engines over the years.
Since its humble beginnings that saw just 2.6 million internet users around the world, the web has gone from strength to strength. There are now around 3.408 billion internet users around the world, able to access information via a range of devices and instantly chat to someone on the other side of the planet with ease.
As well as search engines, e-commerce helped to drive the growth of the web, with Amazon coming into being in 1994. The e-commerce platform was first incorporated as Cadabra Inc and started in Jeff Bezos garage in Seattle before becoming the worldwide shopping and streaming platform that it is today.
In fact, Amazon beat Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to the internet, which was launched in August 1995. While Explorer may have been slightly eclipsed by Chrome in recent years, it fast became one of the most popular browsers of the time and helped more people access the web.
While initially, the internet meant dial-up, this all changed in 1998 when Wi-Fi was introduced. Not only did this mean families were able to avoid the dreaded dial-up noise when they accidentally picked up the landline while someone was online, but it also enabled people t access faster connections. This led to the release of Napster in 1999, allowing people to make the most of peer-to-peer file sharing.
Of course, one of the biggest drivers of increased internet use has to be social media. Myspace came about in 2003, becoming the biggest social networking platform between 2005 and 2009 before it was ultimately sold. Hot on the heels of Myspace was Facebook, which started out in 2004 but was only accessible by students in the US and Canada.
Next came YouTube and a year later Twitter, which has now become a huge part of the social media world with over 500 million tweets being sent each day.
Possibly the biggest impact on social media was the iOS store, which was launched in 2008 and started off by offering 500 apps (compared to the more than two million available to download today). Following iOS was Android with its launch of Android Market just three months later.
It was these app stores that led to the creation of Instagram in 2010. The photo-sharing app soon grew in popularity with users, although businesses were slightly slower on the uptake. In fact, it soon became so popular that it was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012 – just a. Few months before Facebook celebrated reaching a billion active users.
We can’t really talk about the history of the World Wide Web without mentioning the rise of streaming. Initially a DVD rental service, in 2007, Netflix began shifting into on-demand video streaming.
Starting off with shows and films created and owned by other companies, Netflix has now grown to be a recognised global brand, producing its own Oscar winning content.
Of course, it’s not really possible to squeeze all 30 years of the web into five subheadings. So, to celebrate everything the internet has brought us since it’s conception, here’s a full timeline of the last three decades in the form of an infographic from appinstutute.com.
By Joanna Carter
Joanna Carter is a Digital Marketing Executive and the Blog Editor at Smart Insights, overseeing all blog content, social media and SEO strategies. As well as having an MA in Professional Writing, she has over 5 years of marketing and content writing experience, working across B2B and B2C industries. When not working, you can find her creating new recipes, wild swimming or writing her lifestyle blog. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
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