If you have done a Google search today, you might have noticed that the Google Doodle looks a little different. The search engine is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal that was the creation of the World Wide Web. Today the terms, “Internet” and “web” are often used interchangeably, though they actually have different meanings. Before the World Wide Web, the Internet was only accessible by the military in a form known as ARPANET – a global network of computers that were able to communicate with one another developed in the 60s. It wasn’t until Berners-Lee’s proposal in the late 80s that created the web, or the public’s main access to the network.
“Information Management: A Proposal”
In March of 1989, Tim Berners-Lee was a young software engineer working at Switzerland’s European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN. He was working on ideas combining “broad connectivity and openness” when accessing information. So, he wrote his first proposal, “Information Management: A Proposal.” According to an article from CERN, the proposal was for “an internet-based hypertext system to link and access information across different computers.” By Christmas, Berners-Lee had implemented components we know today as HTML, HTTP and URLs.
Keeping Things Open
In April of 1993, CERN released a freely available version of the WWW software to the public, which was the beginning of the open platform we know today. They encouraged the public to not only use it, but improve upon it through open source software, open hardware, open access publishing and the CERN Open Data Portal. This is what allows you the opportunity to create a website right this minute, or two websites, or 50. According to Statista, in January 2019 there were around 4.4 billion active Internet users and according to Internet Live Stats, there are just under 1.7 billion websites on the web and the count continues to rise.