Happy birthday, World Wide Web!

Photo credit: Skley via Photopin cc

Does the name Tim Berners-Lee ring a bell? He is the man who, on March 12, 1989, proposeda universal linked information system” — a.k.a. the World Wide Web.

“A ‘web’ of nodes with links (like references) between them is far more useful than a fixed hierarchical system,” he wrote. (Source: The Economist)

In 25 years, a lot of things have changed. The 1990s witnessed the birth of Yahoo (1994), the first blog (1994), Amazon and eBay (1995), and Google (1998). And the following decade, we had WordPress (2003), Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), and Twitter (2006). As of January 2014, there are 2.4+ billion Internet users worldwide.

25 Years Of The WWW

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

The Internet vs. the Web

Many people tend to use both words interchangeably. They actually are two different beasts!

According to About.com, the World Wide Web “consists of all the public Web sites connected to the Internet worldwide, including the client devices (such as computers and cell phones) that access Web content.”

Today I Found Out defines the Internet as “a global network of networks of computers.” The word was coined in the 1970s.

While the World Wide Web is a quarter of a century old, the Internet has existed for at least 40 years. My research led to ARPANET and CompuServe. However, as far as the modern Internet is concerned, Wikipedia reports that, “sometime in the early to mid-1980s is considered reasonable.”

For a detailed look at the beginnings of the Web, you can refer to this page.

For an in-depth look at the history of the Internet, this article should help.

Some facts and numbers

  • Tim Berners-Lee chose the name “World Wide Web” (or W3) to emphasize the idea that the system allowed for the “interconnectedness” of all links. Other potential names included “The Mesh,” “The Information Mine,” and “Mine of Information.”
  • 1990: 3 million Internet users around the world (73 percent located in the U.S.) (Worldmapper)
  • August 6, 1991: First web page created by Tim Berners-Lee. The World Wide Web becomes also publicly available.

– July 18, 1992: First photo posted on the web.

  • 1994: Launch of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), whose mission is “to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth of the Web.”
  • 1995: 16 million users (14 percent of American adults) (Internet World Stats)

  • 1998: 25 percent of the American population already use the Internet (The Economist)

  • 2000: 361 millions users (Internet World Stats)

  • 2005: 1 billion users (Internet World Stats)

  • 2008: 1 trillion unique URLs (Google Official Blog)

  • 2010: 1.9 billion users (Internet World Stats)

  • Highest average monthly Internet usage (2012): 44.3 hours in Canada, 38.8 hours in the U.S., 35.1 hours in the U.K., 33.8 hours in the Netherlands, and 33 hours in Turkey (Statista)

  • 2013: 350.13 million Internet users in China, 191.51 million in the U.S., 76.05 million in India, 73.66 million in Japan, and 64.06 million in the Russian Federation (Statista)

  • December 2013: 850 million websites (180 million active) (Internet Live Stats)

  • 2014: Between 2.4 and 2.7 billion users  (Social Media Slant / Internet World Stats) – 87 million of American adults use the Internet (Statista)

  • March 13, 2014: 149+ million domains across the .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ, and .US top level domains (Whois Source)

  • March 14, 2014 (4:35 p.m. CT): 920+ million websites, 127+ billion emails sent, 2.3+ billion blog posts written, 401+ million Tweets sent, 55.4+ million photos uploaded on Instagram, 4.8+ billion YouTube videos watched, 2.5+ billion Google searches (Internet Live Stats)

  • Fastest growing Internet populations (last five years): Philippines (531 percent), Indonesia (430 percent), South Africa (414 percent), and India (230 percent) (GlobalWebIndex Blog)

  • Largest Internet populations: China (463 million), United States (178 million), India (131 million), and Brazil (76 million) (GlobalWebIndex Blog)

  • Interview with Tim Berners-Lee


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