Today is the big day. On August 23, 1991, the World Wide Web went live and became accessible to the citizens of the world. It seems hard to imagine now, but the Internet as we know it is only 25 years old. The affect on humanity as been profound, affecting more people since its invention than any technological advancement since the invention of the wheel. The very first website had gone online mere weeks before, on August 6, 1991.
The brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who was then working at CERN, the Web built on the work of Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, who created the Internet Protocol, a way for computers to send packets of information back and forth over long distances. Sir Lee wrote the protocol for WWW on a NeXT machine, a computer developed by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs after his departure from Apple.
As Sir Berners-Lee describes it, “The dream behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information. Its universality is essential: the fact that a hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local or global, be it draft or highly polished. There was a second part of the dream, too, dependent on the Web being so generally used that it became a realistic mirror (or in fact the primary embodiment) of the ways in which we work and play and socialize. That was that once the state of our interactions was on line, we could then use computers to help us analyze it, make sense of what we are doing, where we individually fit in, and how we can better work together.”
According to Internet Live Stats, there just are over a billion web sites on the planet now, though 75% are inactive. There are 4.75 billion web pages, and 3.4 billion people on the internet use the web.
So What’s an Internaut?
“Internaut” is a portmanteau of the words Internet and astronaut and refers to a designer, operator, or technically capable user of the Internet. Beginning with participants in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), it gradually expanded to members of the Internet Society (ISoc) and the world at large.
An internaut is online savvy, typically through years of online experience, with a thorough knowledge of how to use search engines, Internet resources, forums, newsgroups and chat rooms to find information. Obviously enough, if you’re reading this, that would include you! Happy Internaut Day!