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The Internet Turns Twenty: A Trip Down Memory Lane

On April 30th, 2013, you might have gone about your day like it was just another normal spring day.  Maybe you took the kids out for ice cream, or maybe you just took the time to appreciate the sunnier weather as a sign that summer is nearly upon us.  However, if you’ve ever sent an email or uploaded a web page – which, judging by the fact that you’re reading this article, you have – then it’s important to know that April 30th is also the day when the World Wide Web turned twenty.


It’s hard to believe that something so integral to our lives is still under the legal drinking age; however, the Internet held plenty of promise when it was introduced to the world on April 30th, 1993.  Fast forward just two decades later, and it’s clear to see that the Internet is one of the most critical tools people use in their everyday lives.  From social media and email to telecommuting and reporting news, it’s no exaggeration to claim that the Internet has changed virtually every industry on the planet, and gave rise to several new ones such as e-commerce and telecommunications.


Several publications celebrated this important event, with Time Magazine walking readers down the path of how the first website came into existence ( “Content on the Internet is ephemeral.  A website can be online one minute, and taken down the next.  As permanent as we think our Internet footprints are, the Web is perpetually changing.  Much of the early Internet has been lost.  One very important webpage, however, has been rescued from history […] European particle physics laboratory CERN returned the first ever Internet websites to its rightful place on the Web.


“Originally created by CERN in 1992, the world’s first website invokes a time long past when pages were just plain text on a white background.  There are no advertisements, no pictures, and certainly no video.  It’s an entirely utilitarian site rendered in Times New Roman, the most default of fonts.”


Judging by the content of the first website, it’s clear to see that the Internet has come far from when the first webpage was uploaded in the early months of 1993.  Now with just a click of the mouse button, we can download videos, send emails to people across the world, conduct a shopping spree, and even enjoy the convenience of online banking.


In celebration of the World Wide Web turning twenty, let’s take a look at a few of our favorite technologies that were introduced by this phenomenon:


  1. Online Fax Services:  Once upon a time, the traditional fax machine was designed to be one of the most revolutionary communications.  However, this machine has received a serious upgrade in recent years, thanks to new fax software that makes it possible to send documents straight from your email inbox to the recipient’s fax machine.  What’s more, online fax services make it possible for you to receive traditional faxes in your own email inbox.  This fax software is a great option for businesses or homeowners who don’t want to deal with the hassle of a massive fax machine.


2. Web Conferencing Software:  The ability to conduct face-to-face meetings is a crucial one, which is why so many businesses sink a great deal of money into business travel.  However, web conferencing software makes it possible for people to have meetings with clients and vendors located around the world, thus making it possible to do business without the travel expenses.


3. YouTube:  This video website first started as a complement to social media sites (who else was going to watch videos of Star Wars Kid?), but quickly became a worldwide phenomenon when people started uploading music videos, presentations, and news clips.  Nowadays, even entrepreneurs have been using YouTube to enhance their business sales and reach out to customers around the world.


4. PayPal: If you’ve ever done online shopping – or made an online sale yourself – then you know just how pivotal this online payment system can be.  By linking up to a credit card or bank account, PayPal makes it easy for you to pay online without risking the integrity of your identity or your bank account information.   It also makes it possible for you to score those sweet deals on Ebay.


So many exciting developments have occurred in the past twenty years – including online fax services, PayPal, and other advancements – that we just have one thing to say: we can’t wait to see what happens over the next twenty years!


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