The World Wide Web as we know it today was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist who was researching at the CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland, back in 1989. This was made possible thanks to the use of hypertexts, or links, creating the basis of an information system, accessible from anywhere on the network. Thanks to this feature, it was now possible to link several documents together, creating the web navigation system we use today.
However, this was not the first time a text was transmitted from one computer to another; the precursor of the world wide web, a military-backed project called the ARPANET, successfully sent a message from a computer located at the University of California to the Stanford Research Institute in 1969.
The very first website to be born into existence was the website of the CERN and could be accessed by typing http://info.cern.ch into a web browser. The site, which you can see in the picture above, presented the World Wide Web project and the people working behind it. Fun fact: you can still access the very first website ever created by typing the same address in your current web browser.
The era of Web 1.0, from the 1990s to early 2000s
At the early stage of the Internet, the web was a static place; it was mainly used to broadcast information to visitors in a one-way communication system. The era is often referred to as Web 1.0, a time without social media as we know it and without the possibility to download large files, such as videos and pictures. Most of the websites around that time were based on some texts and a few pictures, providing limited interactions with the users.
The era of Web 2.0, from 2004 to today
Web 2.0 is the evolution of the Internet and represents the era of user-generated content. We slowly moved away from the static pages of Web 1.0 and entered a time where everyone can create their own content on the Internet.
This has been made as easy as ever thanks to the generalization of Social Media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which allows for the end-users to post their stories and share their thoughts.
Web 2.0 is also about personalization; most websites nowadays ask you to create an account, and will then display specific images and call to actions based on your interests and overall behavior on the Internet.
A good example of such behavior comes from Facebook Pixel, a small API that one can install on his website and that will track the behavior of the consumer. Once the person is back on Facebook or Instagram, he will start seeing ads that have been tailor-made based on the pages he visited earlier on the website.
While this process can be considered intrusive, it has lead to an increase in online sales as the will-be consumer now sees ads that are highly relevant to his interest.
Can we expect a Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 is already underway, and many companies around the world are investing top dollars to make it a reality.
The concept of the Internet of Things is one component of the Web 3.0. Imagine the day when your fridge notices that you ran out of milk; it automatically updates your grocery shopping app on your phone, which notifies you as soon as you arrive in the store. And in case you somehow still forget about your milk, you get a second reminder from your car as soon as you try to leave the parking lot.
There are plenty of other interesting components to Web 3.0, which we’ll happily discuss in a future issue. Till then, let’s enjoy the present day!