Remember when you had to watch the TV news to know about local and national events, back before you could hop on Facebook? Or when you had to make phone calls on a land-line to talk with family and friends? What about when you had to use encyclopedias for school assignments? Yes, it’s hard to believe now that the World Wide Web went live to the public in August of 1991, almost 30 years ago.
The creator, Tim Berners-Lee, died in the ’80s, long before he would get to see the massive impact the internet would have on society. Then, the World Wide Web was nicknamed the “Information Highway,” but it has long since exceeded the world’s original expectations and is now arguably the most powerful force in all the world.
Surfing the Net
In 1992, the phrase “surfing the ‘net” was popularized with the first audio and video distributed over the internet.
By 1993, there were over 600 websites on the internet, and that year, the White House and United Nations joined them.
Today millions of people spend hours surfing the net, and according to an article on Business Insider, over 420 million people are “addicted” to the internet. There’s a bad to every good, apparently.
Media & Scandals
Before the internet, obtaining information on the latest scandals, crimes, or other newsworthy subjects meant reading the newspaper or watching TV. But the introduction of the internet drastically changed all that and gave us our ability for instant information and gratification.
The decade that saw the introduction of the World Wide Web also saw a presidential affair, the O.J. Simpson Trial, and the Rodney King incident. With this new technology, the latest news on all of these scandals was available on-demand, with just a click of a button.
The first online dating site was launched in 1995: Match.com. The debut of Match.com opened up the world of online dating, changing the way modern adults met one another forever.
According to Forbes.com, there are now more than 2,500 dating sites in the U.S. alone. Unfortunately, it also states that 40% of users are already married. Ouch.
Napster & Digital Music
In 1999, Shawn Fanning & Sean Parker founded Napster, making music available digitally in MP3 format for the first time ever.
Napster made it easy for the public to download copies of songs that were “difficult” to obtain, such as songs from concerts and bootleg copies of music. It’s been stated that they paved the way for streaming media digitally. This was a whole new world compared to the old method of obtaining analog music.
However, numerous lawsuits filed by musicians for violation of copyrights and leaked releases caused Napster to shut down in 2001.
Amazon.com, now the largest e-commerce marketplace in the world, was launched in July of 1994, changing the game for readers and writers alike. Gone were the days waiting for a response from editors by mail or going to the library to check out your favorite book.
Amazon started as an online book store but eventually expanded and began adding software, video games, electronics, jewelry, furniture, and more. Now Amazon is the second largest employer in the United States and the largest internet company, by revenue, in the world.
What did the world do before Google? What’s now the most used search engine on the net was launched in 1998, and its introduction changed our lives forever.
You can thank Larry Page and Sergey Brin for the epic creation that has put anything you ever want or need to know right at your fingertips. Whether you need cold, hard data or an answer to a question that’s driving you crazy (what temperature is the sun, again?), Google’s got your back.
The first edition of what’s now known as a smartphone was the Palm Pilot, also known as a personal digital assistant device.
Jeff Hawkins, Ed Colligan, and Donna Dubinsky founded Palm Computing in 1992, and the Palm Pilot 1000 was released in 1996. This state-of-the-art device had a to-do list, a memo pad, a date book, and an address book all in one nifty hand-held computer. Who would have thought that this technology would forever change the ’90s and explode into the tech-savvy world we live in today? And all because the internet sparked a “need it now” mentality in our society.
The introduction of the internet created an explosion of technology that massively impacted the 1990s and is still influencing our lives today. The “Information Highway” has generated millions of jobs, inventions, and lifestyle changes that would all fail to exist without this incredible creation.