Electronic communication has had an ongoing progression dating back to the invention of the telegraph and the telephone. With the invention of the Internet, communication took an expansive leap forward. Not only does the Internet enable interaction on a wide scale through the use of computers, but it also enables broadcasting and the widespread sharing of information on a global scale.
Events Leading to the Internet
During the 1950s, the U.S. Department of the Defense was researching possible ways to use computers for communicating information. An early attempt at networking and communication was called the Arpanet. During the 1970s, the Arpanet connected four points in the United States, and researchers worked on using it to move messages between these points.
The Early Internet
The Internet's official birthdate is January 1, 1983, with the connection of all networks via a universal language, known as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, the communication language of the Internet. Initially, universities and the military were the principal users of the Internet, and email communication became popular. Computer advances that continued throughout the remainder of the 1980s contributed to advances in the Internet.
The term "World Wide Web" was born in 1990, and the first Web pages were created in 1991. The mp3 file format and webcams were also born in 1991. The Netscape Web browser was released in 1994, and commercialization of the Internet began in earnest by 1995. Google came on board in 1998, and Web development took off as investors jumped in to get a piece of the dot-com boom that was occurring. By the year 2000, the bubble had burst and many companies closed their virtual doors after huge losses. Web 2.0 entered the scene in 2004 with the introduction of new software applications that would make using the Internet easier and more interactive. With the addition of mobile connectivity via smartphones, the Internet continues to evolve and expand with each passing year.
Brief History of the Internet: The Internet Society offers a thorough discussion of how the Internet began and its evolution through the years since its inception.
A Brief History of the Internet: The University System of Georgia shares information about the origins of the Internet, including the infamous date of January 1, 1983, known as the Internet's birthdate.