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World Wide Web

Happy Birthday, Internet: the World Wide Web Turns 30

Celebrate the internet's 30th anniversary with live-streamed World Wide Web Foundation events featuring Sir Tim Berners-Lee, contribute to a crowdsourced Twitter timeline, or travel back in time by firing up the original web browser.
Happy Birthday, Internet: the World Wide Web Turns 30
Image credit: via PC Mag
Associate Features Editor
3 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag

In March 1989, CERN computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee published a proposal for a "web" of hypertext documents that could be viewed through a "browser." Three decades later, the internet has reshaped the fabric of communication, global access to information, and society at large.

How better to celebrate the internet's 30th birthday than with one big globe-spanning virtual party?

The World Wide Web Foundation has a full slate of festivities planned, beginning with a speaker lineup featuring Berners-Lee at the CERN lab in Geneva, Switzerland, which kicked off early this morning (2 a.m. ET). Lee is then jetting to London's Science Museum for discussions on how the internet has changed our lives and how to protect its future.

Web Foundation co-founder Rosemary Leith will also lead an event at the Women's Technology Empowerment Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, focused on female technology creators and solving social challenges. These events are part of a larger 30-hour social celebration of the web's history today and tomorrow, with each hour representing a different year of the internet with tweets and posts from founders, inventors, and organizations around the world.

You can join in the celebrations by tweeting with the hashtags #Web30 and #ForTheWeb, and contribute to the World Wide Web Foundation's crowdsourced Twitter timeline with your own moments looking back on the past three decades of the web.

There has been some controversy in the past over the actual date of the internet's inception. Berners-Lee's proposal dropped in 1989, but the first web pages, hosted by CERN, didn't go live until August 1991. In August 2016, Berners-Lee got a bit peeved when CERN dubbed Aug. 23 as "Internaut Day," even though both CERN and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which Berners-Lee founded, agreed that the web's 25th anniversary was March 12, 2014.

For the 30th anniversary this year, everyone seems to be on the same page.

If you're looking for a more interactive way to celebrate the start of the web's 30th, CERN rebuilt the original WorldWideWeb browser developed on an Apple NeXT computer in 1990. You can see what it was like to open URLs, edit hypertext documents, and create links in the first-ever browser. It's a lot different than typing search keywords into a modern browser's address bar, to say the least.

CERN also published this old-school interactive timeline charting the history of web technology before and after the invention of the internet, and zooming all the way forward to the creation of modern websites, search engines, and social media.

Watch CERN's live stream of the celebrations below.

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