Happy 25th Birthday World Wide Web

Today, March 12th, 2014, is the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web – the internet. And what could be more fitting than a post by the inventor of the WWW, Sir Tim Berners Lee?

On the 25th anniversary of the web, let’s keep it free and open

Today is the web’s 25th birthday. On March 12, 1989, I distributed a proposal to improve information flows: “a ‘web’ of notes with links between them.”

Though CERN, as a physics lab, couldn’t justify such a general software project, my boss Mike Sendall allowed me to work on it on the side. In 1990, I wrote the first browser and editor. In 1993, after much urging, CERN declared that WWW technology would be available to all, without paying royalties, forever.

First Web Server

The first web server, used by Tim Berners-Lee. Photo via Wikipedia

This decision enabled tens of thousands to start working together to build the web. Now, about 40 percent of us are connected and creating online. The web has generated trillions of dollars of economic value, transformed education and healthcare and activated many new movements for democracy around the world. And we’re just getting started.

How has this happened? By design, the underlying Internet and the WWW are non-hierarchical, decentralized and radically open. The web can be made to work with any type of information, on any device, with any software, in any language. You can link to any piece of information. You don’t need to ask for permission. What you create is limited only by your imagination.

So today is a day to celebrate. But it’s also an occasion to think, discuss—and do. Key decisions on the governance and future of the Internet are looming, and it’s vital for all of us to speak up for the web’s future. How can we ensure that the other 60 percent around the world who are not connected get online fast? How can we make sure that the web supports all languages and cultures, not just the dominant ones? How do we build consensus around open standards to link the coming Internet of Things? Will we allow others to package and restrict our online experience, or will we protect the magic of the open web and the power it gives us to say, discover, and create anything? How can we build systems of checks and balances to hold the groups that can spy on the net accountable to the public? These are some of my questions—what are yours?

On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more and speak up for the sort of web we really want with #web25.

Posted by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web

Source: Google’s Official Blog

What has the WWW meant to you? What do you use it for? Here are a few things off the top of my head:

  • Talking to friends in other states and countries
  • Christmas shopping – avoiding the crowds
  • Finding the best price on things I want to buy
  • Reading reviews on things I want to buy – is it a good deal or not?
  • Checking the sex offenders database – to see if my neighborhood is safe
  • A quick look-up for how to fix something or do something
  • Reading about amazing advances in science and medicine (2 of my favorite subjects)

 

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