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The World Wide Web is 20 years old

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Geneva – Twenty years ago on April 30, CERN donated the technologies underpinning the World Wide Web to the public domain.

Although the first “proper” e-mail was sent as early as 1971, the World Wide Web took quite a bit longer to develop.

At the heart of it was Englishman Tim Berners-Lee, a worthy successor to Sir Isaac Newton.

Although unlike Newton he didn’t have to wrestle with the laws of motion, gravitation or light, sometimes the genius of an idea is in its simplicity. What if the different “pages” of a computer could be “linked” together? Better still, what if every page of every on-line computer in the world could be linked to every other page?

This simple yet brilliant idea earned him both world wide fame and a knighthood. The rest is history: search engines, personal webpages, messaging, full length films… All these developments required bigger and more powerful machines and networks, and they have arrived big time.

Broadband was introduced in the UK a mere 13 years ago. Now, like tinned food and electricity, it is something we not only take for granted but can’t imagine living without.

All that has come in just twenty years, which begs the question what will it be like in another twenty, or even a hundred?

If that is too huge a task for you to ponder, check out this video about those very early days, and the attempt to recreate the world’s first ever webpage, which in the rush to develop this futuristic technology might have been lost forever.www.digitaljournal.com

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