The World Wide Web has its roots as part of a military tool and eventually found its way to computers and hand-held devices all over the world. The latest trend in Internet technology is to connect everything from your home’s security system to your toaster to the Internet so that they can be controlled remotely.
The Internet has advanced medicine and has helped people from all over the world to keep in touch and make new friends. Retailers have both praised and cursed the Internet, as the ability to sell to any customer in the world has proven to be a burden and a blessing at the same time. But how did it all get started, and how did we get to the point we are at now?
August 30, 1969: The United States government debuts its Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), which introduced the idea of information being shared over a phone line using a concept called packet-switching. Between 1969 and 1989, ARPANET was installed in a series of government facilities and colleges, but it was only used as a way to access information stored on computers in remote locations, not for direct communication.
By 1990, ARPANET was phased out to make way for the Internet. But as ARPANET was being ramped down, the concept of Transport Control Protocol: Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) was developed, which would lay the foundation for the functionality of the Internet.
January 12, 1974: The whitepaper “Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program” is released by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal, and Carl Sunshine. This is the first time that the term “Internet” is used to explain the transfer of information through a network over communication lines.
December 18, 1987: Programmer and computer scientist Larry Wall releases his text regarding the Perl programming language that would become the foundation for all initial forms of Internet programming.
January 3, 1989: British scientist Tim Berners-Lee distributes findings from CERN (a European research organization) that reveals a way of delivering information using the newly developed Hypertext protocol. This becomes the first schematic drawing of the Internet.
July 18, 1992: Internet developer Silvano de Gennaro takes a promotional picture of an all-female singing group at CERN called Les Horribles Cernettes. Silvano de Gennaro shows the picture to Tim Berners-Lee, and Berners-Lee posts the picture on a Web page, which would make this the first picture ever posted on the Internet.
December 3, 1992: Jean Polly publishes an article describing Berners-Lee’s invention, and she coins the phrase “Surfin’ the Web.”
April 30, 1993: Tim Berners-Lee releases his refined Web browser and introduces the first Web server, called the NeXT machine. Initially, the Internet was hosted on Berners-Lee’s NeXT machine located in the CERN facility, and he distributed free browser software to allow people to access the Internet.
August 24, 1995: Microsoft gets into the Internet game as it introduces its Windows 95 operating system, which came with the first version of the Internet Explorer Web browser.
September 2, 2001: The role-playing game World of Warcraft is introduced at an Internet trade show in London, England. The game has become the largest role-playing game on the Internet, with tens of millions of online users today.
December 16, 2003: Spam email has grown into such a problem that President George W. Bush signs the CAN-SPAM Act into law. It is an act that set the definition of spam email and also applies to any type of individual or bulk email that is sent as an advertisement. The federal law sets the penalty for each email considered to be spam at $16,000, which could be a very costly penalty if a company is found to have delivered thousands of pieces of spam.
February 4, 2004: Mark Zuckerberg launches what he calls “the facebook” to connect students at Harvard University. Over time, Zuckerberg would shorten the name of this site to just Facebook and go on to create a multi-billion-dollar company out of his social media idea.
February 14, 2005: The video-sharing website YouTube is launched, and this is the first time that the Web offers one concentrated place where anyone can upload and watch videos from around the world.
January 18, 2011: The Pew Research Center publishes an article indicating that social media on the Internet has increased Americans’ overall participation in groups. According to the study, 68 percent of all Americans felt that the Internet was instrumental in helping any kind of group to ghe out to the rest of the world.