World Wide Web @ 25

So. As of 2014 – not sure of the exact date, but I’m guessing it’s in March since this is the month Google is acknowledging it in – the world wide web is twenty-five years old. As of September 2014, I will have been a user of the world wide web for twenty of those twenty-five years.

My experience began in the Fall semester of my last year of college. I visited the school in the summer of 1994 to set up classes with my adviser and she told me of a brand new class she was going to be offering (in the English department) that she thought I might enjoy. It was an intro class to the world wide web and it piqued my interest enough to agree to take the class.

There were only about six of us in that class when the Fall semester began. I remember everything being very text heavy with no pictures or graphics. We used search engines such as Archie and Veronica to find information that was slowly becoming available. We also used the Gopher protocol to find things. All three of these search “engines” were used interchangeably.

By the Spring semester, we were using our first browser called Mosaic. The class was over, but because it was being offered in my department, I still had access to the computers connected to the web. Netscape followed quickly on the heels of Mosaic and I remember the big N in the upper right corner that appeared to be pulsating or “breathing” while it worked to load the components of each webpage. With Netscape we had finally arrived at the graphics laden browser. Another version of the browser had the Mozilla dragon breathing fire whenever he was hard at work loading the information.

That Spring was also when my friends and I discovered Yahoo. Before it was a .com it existed on the servers of Stanford University where its developers were enrolled in school at the time. The first URL was a big long string rather than the simple that it is today.

Things started to explode from there and we have never looked back. The world wide web may be only 25 years old, but the concepts and foundations were laid in the 1960s and really during World War II as well.