WWW turns 25: A look back at the Internet's early days


With the World Wide Web turning 25 this week it is only natural to ask what could be found online back when the first George Bush was U.S. president.

The answer is very little, but that would quickly change.

The first site was naturally created and posted by the web's founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee, then a computer scientist at CERN in Switzerland. That page contained nothing but bright green text on a black screen describing his project, which was the creation of the World Wide Web. Or more exactly a system for which scientific groups could more readily and safely share data.

The vast majority of the pioneering sites during the years following Berners-Lee's kickoff were from universities and scientific institutions like Fermilab, Ohio State University and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

Starting in 1993 some people on the outside started to get an inkling that the web might be more than just a place for geeks to use. That year MTV's URL was registered by then VJ Adam Curry. Another early stand-out from the scientific community was the Internet Movie Data Base which went live on the web that year.

This is the year the first web browser was unveiled, Mosaic, created by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. By the end of this banner year there were 623 websites operating according to an MIT study.

1994 was a banner year for the web as a wave of new sites outside of those created by scientific types went active. Sites such as HotWired by Wired Magazine, the White House and The Simpsons Archive were born online. Never one to let a new method of distribution pass by unnoticed, the adult video industry rolled out the URL In retrospect it's hard to believe it took so long for this to happen.

Webcams also came into play in1994, including the Trojan Room Coffee Pot cam, not connected with the adult site previously mentioned, but instead a camera focusing literally on a coffee pot to be found in the computer laboratory at Cambridge University. FogCam! located at San Francisco State University also went live and is now considered the oldest operating webcam on the web.

Sites for both the hungry from Pizza Hut enabled online ordering and for those worried about alien invasion by Jeff Rense were created.

One site still around and known to all kicked off in 1994, however it might not be recognized by its original name, Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web. Wisely this was changed to Yahoo by founders Jerry Yang and David Filo, who were electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University.

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