It is hard to remember a time before having photos of cats on hand, or the ability to search anything online instantly was a thing. The world has progressed so much that the whole of the internet can now be accessed from something that fits in our pockets! But scrolling through hours and hours of memes wasn’t the internet’s original purpose – the phenomena has come a long way since then… Here’s how it was invented.
The initial idea
Some clever eggs had been keeping themselves busy during the late ‘50s with the launch of Sputnik, the first satellite in the world to be launched into Earth’s orbit. Its creation left people questioning how far science and technology could go, as well as considering how to make it more widely available in schools. Fear began to emerge when Americans questioned whether the Soviet Union would be able to take down their extensive phone network they had connected up. They decided something needed to be done in case they were no longer able to communicate.
Scientists started to put their heads together to come up with a way that they could stay in touch until the eureka moment hit – a network of machines that could communicate with one another. During the ‘60s, teams began working on their idea and by 1965 one scientist had discovered a way to send packaged information to another computer. The packets meant the data was safe from an attack by the Soviet, but it wasn’t for a few years that the internet was able to make another huge leap.
In the same year that man first stepped on the moon, the internet was officially born. In 1969 the computers used (that were the size of a small family home each) were located at two different universities when the word ‘login’ was sent from one to another. It may not seem like much, but it was a massive leap, even if the computer did crash after only two letters. The net was named the ‘ARPAnet’ which had just four computers linked to it during its first year. In the next two years, Hawaii joined on with their ‘ALOHAnet.’
Over the next few years, the internet was able to reach overseas as it made it to London and Norway in 1973. By 1991 a man named Tim Berners-Lee had managed to change the internet as we know it after he created the World Wide Web. This changed the whole way the internet worked as it enabled a group of smart students to created Mosaic (now known as Netscape) which meant for the first time ever photographs and words were able to be on the same page. It also bought the use of scrolling by using a bar on the page, as well as using links to click to other websites.
The creation on Mosaic meant that the internet for the first time could be used commercially. Since then it has grown to an unbelievable size, with more than 1 billion websites and over 3 billion people using it. It’s a good thing computers have shrunk too, as Google alone uses 1000 computers for every search to retrieve answers in 0.2 seconds.
It’s been over fifty years since the first message was sent over the internet, but to date, it still continues to grow at an alarmingly rapid rate. Whereas the internet used to only have four computers linked together, there are now over 3 billion people that log on to check out the latest news, gifs, updates, and videos. Without Mr. Berners-Lee, we would have a lot of spare time on our hands. After all, what would we be able to do when waiting for the bus, without the internet?