June 5, 2014 9:20 am

More than likely, you are reading this blog post via the InventHelp blog by surfing the World Wide Web (WWW) on the Internet. This same information management system allows you to send electronic mail to friends and family, share pictures of your son’s baseball game to social media, and research term papers without leaving your home. The rise and use of the Internet may be one of the greatest technological advancements of our society in this generation. Interestingly enough, its creation was not the work of one person but of a process of refinement and improvement spanning decades.

The United States military developed the first private Internet after the end of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union. Opening in 1968 and titled the Advanced Research Projects Agency Networks, or ARPAnet, its aim was to work as a military Command and Control center able to withstand a nuclear attack. ARPAnet created the TCP/IP communications standard that defines Internet data transfer to this day. ARPAnet opened the door for civilians excited to have found a way to share information between the few computers that existed during this period.

Tim Berners-Lee was one of these individuals who led the way with his proposal for a computer-based information management system in March 1989. While working as a software engineer at a large physics laboratory in Switzerland, he wanted to create a device that allowed international scientists to exchange data and experiment results. He documented what was going to become the World Wide Web within a proposal detailing a set of technologies that would allow the Internet to be accessible to anyone with the right equipment and software. As amazing as it seems, the world-changing WWW, its defining of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) used to create web pages, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and Universal Resource Locators (URLs) were all developed between 1989 and 1991. The first website was put online in August of 1991: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. This mouthful of a URL led to a site explaining to visitors what the World Wide Web was, as well as how one could use a browser and set up his or her very own web server.

Berners-Lee was hardly greedy with his ideas and, in fact, set up the W3C in 1994, which included several companies banded together to set up standards and recommendation to improve the quality the WWW. He never filed for a patent so anyone could use and improve upon his original design. This humbleness and desire to do good for many set the standard that the Internet should be comprised of royalty-free technology.

Though only about a third-of the world population currently have access and use of the Web, it is truly a revolutionary invention that has changed the way the planet communicates, for better or worse. There are entire generations who know nothing of life without it and whose lives will not be the same because if it.

As we celebrate Tim Berners-Lee’s birthday on June 8th, think about the impact of the World Wide Web on your life. What would you life be like without the Internet? Could you go one day without browsing the Web on your Smartphone? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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