On August 1st, the world celebrated World Wide Web Day by going online to watch movies, share photos and videos, email friends, and video chat with loved ones.
In other words, the world carried on doing what it does every day.
Many people didn’t even know it was World Wide Web Day – it looked just like any other day as the world went about posting, researching, reading, sharing and communicating on computers and mobile devices.
But just over 25 years ago, everything looked very different.
There was no Facebook. No cute puppy videos to stream on YouTube. No Wikipedia.
If you had a home computer, you were a scientist or a hobbyist.
When you talked on the phone, you were still mostly tethered to a wall.
To do research, you went to the library and searched the card catalog until you found the name of the books, magazines and microfiche where the information might live.
There was no such thing as a smartphone and certainly no Wi-Fi.
But the invention and evolution of the World Wide Web helped change all of that.
What started as a way for scientists and researchers to share information became a global marketplace, library and communication platform that you carry around in your pocket.
The Birth of the Web…
At first, no one believed in the potential of the Internet. It was for scientists and scholars. The thought of allowing the general public to access the Internet seemed absolutely insane.
Tim Berners-Lee thought otherwise.
In 1989, he was a software engineer at the large particle physics laboratory CERN in Switzerland. At that time, the Internet was already about 20 years old and still mostly used by an elite group of people.
Berners-Lee wanted to transform the Internet. He wanted to trade simple “packet-switching” between individual computers for a “web” of information that anyone could access.
His proposal didn’t generate much enthusiasm; his boss wrote only “vague but exciting” on the cover of his report.
And that seemed to be the end of that.
But Berners-Lee did not see the end.
He saw a gleaming beginning.
He went on to write HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). He then wrote the world’s first web browser: WorldWideWeb (WWW).
On August 6, 1991, the first web site in the world was published at CERN explaining the WWW project and teaching people how to create their own web sites and search for information. Seventeen days later (August 23), the public got its first look at the web.
So to honor those two milestone dates, we celebrate World Wide Web Day on August 1st.
Because what would happen in the months and years following would change our lives completely and forever.
What Do We Owe to the World Wide Web?
Without the Internet:
- We would never have had online purchases. (Did you know that the first online purchase was a pizza in 1994?)
- We wouldn’t have email. We owe a big giant thank you to Hotmail for being the first to launch a webmail service in 1996!
- We wouldn’t be able to share information. It was barely 14 years ago that Wikipedia was launched as an open collaboration encyclopedia. In the first year, users wrote over 20,000 entries.
- We wouldn’t be able to watch videos whenever we please. In 2005, YouTube launched on Valentine’s Day. Here’s the first ever video uploaded (who knew?)
Now on August 1st, we celebrate the web for giving us completely new ways to communicate and learn. Shopping sites, social networks, videos, communities and blogs (like this one!) have changed the way we gather information, how we read, where and how we shop and where and when we do our banking.
Most importantly, it’s made it easier for us to interact and connect with each other no matter where we are in the world.
We can’t thank the World Wide Web enough for giving us the platform to communicate with you and to allow us to share scrumptious recipes and tips to a healthful and balanced lifestyle.
So in order to truly honor the power of the web, we’re sharing the Hummus Tortilla Pizza recipe by cookbook author Dreena Burton.
Pull it up on your tablet, computer or smartphone and let’s get cooking – the World Wide Web way!