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Timeline of Web Advancements

By Kelcine
  • The Start of Web 1.0

    The Start of Web 1.0
    The earliest version of the internet. Content creation was specialized to those who knew how to code, internet speeds were extremely slow so file sizes were small, and advertisements were banned.
  • Talk to Me, Computer

    Talk to Me, Computer
    IBM Shoebox is launched. It is the first speech recognition computer.
  • The First Email

    The First Email
    Ray Tomlinson invented and developed the first electronic messaging system.
  • E-commerce Commences!

    E-commerce Commences!
    Using a two-way messaging software called videotex, Michael Aldrich launched what is considered to be the first online store.
  • The First List Server

    The First List Server
    The first LISTSERV was hosted on an IBM Virtual Machine mainframe over BITNET. LISTSERV enabled group email collaboration.
  • The World at Your Finertips

    The World at Your Finertips
    Tim Berners Lee invents the world wide web, a software platform that allowed users to interact with documents and sites hosted on servers as long as they knew the address. It launched for worldwide access in 1991.
  • A Window with a View

    A Window with a View
    Tim Berners Lee developed the first web browser.
  • The First Web Server

    The First Web Server
    The World wide web was born on a NeXTCube with a 256Mhz cpu, 2GB of disk, and a gray scale monitor running NeXTSTEP OS.
  • The First Static Web Page

    The First Static Web Page
    The first static web page was launched on this day. It consisted of basic text and was programmed using HTML.
  • The First Online Picture

    The First Online Picture
    Tim Burners Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, posted a picture of the pop group Les Horrible Cernettes. The were a comedy group and he appeared to be a fan.
  • Faster than a Call

    Faster than a Call
    The first text message is sent. Allowed for real-time, private communication between people without the need for an email chain.
  • Going Public

    Going Public
    The Web becomes public domain. Its given an open license to increase mass adoption.
  • Get the Exposure

    Get the Exposure
    The Internet Underground Music Archive and allowed unsigned bands to upload their music in the form of MP3s in order to gain attention from the public and music executives.
  • First AOL Instant Message

    First AOL Instant Message
    Ted Leonsis sent a test message to his wife that read, "Don't be scared ... it is me. Love you and miss you." His wife replied, "Wow ... this is so cool!"
  • The First Banner Ad

    The First Banner Ad
    At&T launched the first banner ad on HotWired.com. Compared to today, the ad was clicked by 44% of the people who saw it (the modern clickthrough rate is about .05%).
  • Geocites Launches

    Geocites Launches
    With more people (and companies) having access to the web, they wanted a way to bring information to the masses but most people were not familiar with HTML. Geocities launches and offers to host webpages and build them for a fee.
  • Find What You're Looking For...Kinda

    Find What You're Looking For...Kinda
    Jerry Yang and David Filo launch Yahoo! as an index of sites on the web organized by hierarchy.
  • The Start of Web 2.0

    The Start of Web 2.0
    Characterized by the beginnings of social media and a switch from static web pages to dynamic user experiences. You see an explosion of the user base as well as and the beginnings of online commerce.
  • Want Some Milk...

    Want Some Milk...
    Cookie technology is integrated into the Internet Explorer 2 browser. It allowed advertisers to track information about the user across the web and allowed users to navigate the web easier by providing them a passcode that identifies them to the sites they previously visited.
  • My Eyes!

    My Eyes!
    Nintendo launches the Virtual Boy, the first virtual reality console meant for home use. While the console fails to take hold, the technology for it is the foundation for future gaming consoles from Nintendo (3DS, 2DS) and newer virtual reality headsets.
  • Aggrigated Search

    Aggrigated Search
    Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched BackRub, which determined which page is the best for any given subject by analyzing which page had the most links from other pages on that same subject. It is now called Google.
  • Two Online Shopping Giants

    Two Online Shopping Giants
    While no where near what they are today, both eBay and Amazon come online and begin to change the potential of online shopping thanks their wide stock range (Amazon) and person-to-person item exchange (eBay). Interesting fact: both sites took checks and money orders at this time.
  • In the Palm of Your Hand

    In the Palm of Your Hand
    Nokia releases the Communicator 9000, which is the first mobile device that is capable of browsing the web with images. While mobile data is not a thing yet, it connects using a built-in modem.
  • Blockbuster Late Fees are Ridiculous!

    Blockbuster Late Fees are Ridiculous!
    Reed Hastings launches Netflix as an online DVD rental service.
  • Free Webhosting

    Free Webhosting
    Although it has always been a thing for people who knew how and had the money to contract services, the first free Webhosts launched and gave more people the ability to create sites and gain an audience with their content. These were Geocities, Angelfire, and Tripod.
  • Sharing is Caring

    Sharing is Caring
    Napster launches as a peer-to-peer software service with an emphasis on audio distribution, but swiftly becomes a place where users trade WAV, WMA, and MP3 files from their favorite albums without permission from the artists.
  • An Online Encyclopedia...Kinda

    An Online Encyclopedia...Kinda
    Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launch Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that can have entries created and edited by users and have those edits approved by the community. As someone who was mentioned in a few Wikipedia entries (not added by me), the efficacy of those entries is in doubt.
  • A Penny a Kilobit Seems Cheap...

    A Penny a Kilobit Seems Cheap...
    DoCoMo launches the first 3G mobile broadband network. The faster connection meant that cell phone users could access the same level of online material as a computer as relatively similar speeds to dial-up.
  • More Convienent than CDs

    More Convienent than CDs
    Apple releases the iPod which allows users to extract music from their CDs (or find it online) and transfer it to a device that will allow them to take lots of music with them in a smaller device than a walkman. The first iPod held about 250 songs at 96 KBPS.
  • Fighting Fire with Fire

    Fighting Fire with Fire
    Teaming up with record labels, partially in an effort to combat Napster in terms of distribution, Apple revamps and relaunches iTunes, where people can purchase music legally and download it to their computers or their iPods. The original version was only available on MACs.
  • Let Us Help You

    Let Us Help You
    WordPress launches as a webhosting service that offered fillable templates for users who want to create a webpage but do not know how to code or worry about how the layout would look.
  • MySpace

    The first real-time, worldwide social media site is launched and has a massive influence on pop culture and information transmission across international borders.
  • Podcasting Becomes Life

    Podcasting Becomes Life
    In May of 2004, Eric Rice and Randy Dryburgh launched Audioblog.com as the first commercial podcasting hosting service. It became Hipcast two years later.
  • What Have We Wrought?!

    What Have We Wrought?!
    Facebook launches and swiftly overtakes the giant that MySpace had become in users thanks to the features it offers and the way that it easily connects people with minimal effort.
  • Algorithmic Radio

    Algorithmic Radio
    Pandora launches and allows users to create and listen to custom radio stations based around their preferences (songs had like and dislike buttons).
  • The Need for Speed

    The Need for Speed
    Home broadband internet usage surpasses dial-up for the first time. This means the average person can now download large files much faster than before.
  • Online Video Hosting

    Online Video Hosting
    YouTube launches and allows users to upload short videos of their cats and that year's Superbowl Halftime Show for others to see. Because the service is free, the prohibitive media threshold for the average user is crossed.
  • Short, Sweet, and Fast

    Short, Sweet, and Fast
    Twitter launches and changes how people interact, going from longer blog-like posts to short blurbs of text. Picture and video would not be a part of the site's landscape for another three years.
  • Wait...I Can Watch This Online?!

    Wait...I Can Watch This Online?!
    Netflix switches to a primarily online streaming platform in 2007. They would become the model for every other pay video distribution service to come.
  • The Start of Web 3.0

    The Start of Web 3.0
    With so much information going back and forth and increasingly faster speeds, there is a greater emphasis on security for both users and corporations. There is also a desire to integrate more media into a single experience.
  • Choose Your Distribution

    Choose Your Distribution
    SoundCloud launches and allows unsigned musicians to distribute their music on a free-to-access platform as well as choose whether they want to allow users to simply stream, download for free, or pay for their projects.
  • A Seachange

    A Seachange
    Spotify launches and, with permission from the music labels and artists, allows people to stream music for free (with limitations) or pay and get unlimited access. It would spell the beginning of the end of online music piracy.
  • Decentralization Now!

    Decentralization Now!
    Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, launches. It is supposed to give users more control over their money by removing government controls and limiting tracking.
  • A Thousand Words

    A Thousand Words
    Instagram launches as a social media site focused mainly on images. The ability to upload video would be added two years later.
  • It's All Semantics

    It's All Semantics
    Semantic markup, allowing HTML tags to convey information on the backend of the loading process, begins to be used in a more meaningful way. This means search engines get more precise if webpages are formatted correctly.
  • First Step to Skynet

    First Step to Skynet
    Apple launches a digital voice assistant that allows users to operate its devices hands-free and begins including the technology in all its subsequent devices.
  • We're Not Gonna Take It!

    We're Not Gonna Take It!
    After the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is announced, a massive online resistance is organized to stop it. SOPA was meant to protect copyrighted material from illegal use, but was so strict that many detractors felt it would impede fair use as well as make it make criticism of said material impossible without fear of legal reprisal.
  • Strap In, Son!

    Strap In, Son!
    The Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift is launched, ultimately raising $2.4 million.
  • Digital Ownership...But Not Really

    Digital Ownership...But Not Really
    The first NFT is sold in May. The point of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) is meant to be a way to create a ledger of digital ownership for non-physical, files on the internet. Unfortunately, because the blockchain technology has not yet caught up with processing and storage speeds, the files are still located on the internet for anyone to see and the digital contracts that arrange the sales do not actually dictate ownership of the documents in question.
  • To The Moon!

    To The Moon!
    Interplanetary File System (and, thus, blockchain technology) is launched. It is thought to be the substitute for the current HTTP/DNS file structure currently used on the internet.
  • Into the Metaverse!

    Into the Metaverse!
    The first version of the Oculus Rift goes on the market. The company was later acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.
  • The (Predicted) Start of Web 4.0

    The (Predicted) Start of Web 4.0
    The real start of Web 4.0 is hard to know since most people believe we are still firmly in the middle of Web 3.0. Still, many believe that the expansion of blockchain technology and full online migration will continue for the foreseeable future.