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25 years ago today, the web opened up and the world changed

On April 30, 1993, CERN—the European Organization for Nuclear Research—announced that it was putting a piece of software developed by one of its researchers, Tim Berners-Lee, into the public domain. That software was a “global computer networked information system” called the World Wide Web, and CERN’s decision meant that anyone, anywhere, could run a website … Continue reading “25 years ago today, the web opened up and the world changed”

25 years ago today, the web opened up and the world changed
[Photo: Flickr user OiMax]

On April 30, 1993, CERN—the European Organization for Nuclear Research—announced that it was putting a piece of software developed by one of its researchers, Tim Berners-Lee, into the public domain. That software was a “global computer networked information system” called the World Wide Web, and CERN’s decision meant that anyone, anywhere, could run a website and do anything with it. In an era when online services were still dominated by proprietary, for-profit walled gardens such as AOL and CompuServe, that was a radical idea.

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When CERN gave the web to the world, the internet was still largely the province of academics, researchers, and professional technologists. But thanks in part to the web’s approachability, consumers and businesses soon began hopping on board. Useful tools such as Yahoo (January 1994) and the Netscape browser (October 1994) were built upon Berners-Lee’s creation. And by 1995 or so, it was clear that the web was going to be one of the few technologies in history that really would change everything.

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About the author

Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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