10 Key Moments from 25 Years of the World Wide Web


The World Wide Web is now old enough to run for Congress and rent a car. That’s right, the world’s favorite Internet turns 25 this year. The World Wide Web was created by CERN, a European scientific research organization. Two and a half decades later, the web has become a ubiquitous tool for communication, commerce, and exchanging gifs of cats. To celebrate this momentous occasion, here are 10 key moments from the history of the World Wide Web.

1989- the Birth of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee proposed using a system of linked information systems to store research data. While CERN initially rejected his proposal, Berners-Lee refined his technology and proposals, and by 1991, people outside of CERN were allowed on the web for the first time.

1991- AOL for DOS launches. One year later, AOL for Windows launches.

Before web browsers like Internet Explorer became commonplace, many of us accessed the Internet using services like America Online, Juno, and Compuserve. Remember getting those AOL startup CDs in the mail?

1993- Mosaic, first graphical browser, is launched.

Graphic based browsers made using the World Wide Web easy and accessible for everyone, whether they were a tech geek or not.

1996- Sergey Brin and Larry Page develop Google.

Search engines existed before 1996 but Brin and Page’s Google has become the gold standard in web search tools.

1999- Napster launches.

Speaking of CDs, before 1999, if you wanted to listen to music, you needed to go out and buy a CD at a store. Napster allowed users to share music files over the web. While the service was essentially illegal, and eventually shut down, it became the prototype for media download sites like iTunes.

2003- Mark Zuckerberg creates Facebook.

Facebook owes a lot to its forerunners; Myspace, Friendster, and others, but just like Google came to dominate the search sphere, Facebook has come to dominate the social sphere. While it began as a network for college students to keep in touch with their friends, Facebook has expanded and now, everyone and their mom uses the social media site.

2005- YouTube launches.

When YouTube launched, a video streaming and sharing service launched, it made instant celebrities of everyone from Keyboard Cat to Tay Zonday. Now, YouTubers have turned pro with channels like Smosh and Jenna Marbles earning fans and ad revenue from all around the world.

2006- Twitter launches.

Twitter, a 140 character per post micro-blogging site, has become one of the largest social networks in the world. Many of the world’s thought leaders, from CEO’s to presidents to musicians use the site to get their message out.

2007- iPhone launches.

Possibly the biggest game changer since the birth of the web was the launch of smart phones. When the iPhone launched, it brought smartphone out of the boardroom and into the hands of everyone. Now, you can take the web with you wherever you go.

2012- 82% of US adults are online.

When the World Wide Web launched, it was only used by tech geeks. In 2012, 82% of US adults were using the web in one form or another.