Marking 30 glorious years of the World Wide Web, Google celebrates the day with a doodle to paint a picture of how the tangled web was, in its early years; and a message from the founder of the revolutionary technology – Tim Berners-Lee.
On March 12, 1989 – a British physicist named Tim Berners-Lee officially submitted a proposal for a decentralised system of information management titled as “Information Management: A Proposal” to his boss at the European CERN physics lab. Berners-Lee had proposed a model to decentralise data using “a large hypertext database with typed links, named “Mesh” – which would help his colleagues to share data across multiple computers, without physical data transfer mediums. The first response from Lee’s boss was “vague but exciting” – and perhaps that marked the birth of what we now call – World Wide Web.
After getting a go-ahead from the boss, Berners-Lee developed a workable model using HTML as a language, HTTP application and WorldWideWeb.app – the first web browser and page editor that has ever existed. By 1991, the www was running on external servers, beyond CERN and within two years – the web was finally made public. It was the introduction of Mosaic search engine that allowed pictures as data – in November 1993 that popularised the web. And after that, the World Wide Web had no stopping – we are the witnesses of what the web is today.
Born with a simple idea of being able to find, and talk with, every other part, using words, sounds, pictures or anything else that can be digitised – the web has exploded number of internet users from several thousands in 90s to over 4 billion. Over three decades, the web has brought us enormous benefits to shape the world that we live in today – and it will continue to do so in future. But it would be wrong to say that the web is entirely neutral, as it has done us some harm and it will keep doing so.
So on the 30th anniversary, Sir Tim Tim Berners-Lee has a message for the world, appealing us all to strive to maintain “complete control of our data. For we need to discover a level of maturity, if the great powers of the internet are not to work against us. Perhaps, it is time to fix the problem and build a better, less tangible web because “if we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.”