5 Major Moments in Internet History

old_internetThe Internet has changed significantly over time, and there are several moments where we can see legitimate turning points in the Internet’s development. The Internet as we know it today did not just come out of nowhere and it is likely to continue evolving.

1. The Rise of the GIF

In 1984 the Graphics Interchance Format (GIF) was created and released by developers at CompuServe. The efficiency of this format made GIFs extremely popular and was one of the major forces that led to a color-based Internet. The GIF has also helped contribute to the popularity of blogging sites, including Tumblr, which relies on GIFs to keep fandoms happy.

2. Hotmail Emerged as a Major Email Provider

Hotmail emerged in 1996 when email was barely a thought in the average person’s mind. Hotmail launched as the first major web-based email service. Just a year after the email provider was launched, Microsoft purchased the site for $400 million. In the following years other email services evolved, including Yahoo. In 2004 Google announced that it would launch a free email service that offered more storage than any other online email provider. It was called Gmail, and it set a new standard for free email services.

3. Youtube Increased the Popularity of Online Videos

While online videos had a strong web presence prior to the development of the popular video website, Youtube made significant contributions to the rise of the Internet video. The website began a revolution and helped to usher in an era of flash-based video. Youtube allowed people to upload any videos they wanted to share. Google purchased the site in 2006 for more than $1.5 billion. Despite the fact the videos were initially considered to be of low quality, it did not stop people from uploading and viewing everything from homemade skits to videos of cute puppies.

4. The Internet Emerged as a Legitimate Way to Shop

People began to make online purchases. Amazon, opened in 1995, was one of the first major online shops. It sold books to begin with, but eventually sold other products. That same year eBay also emerged as an online auction site called AuctionWeb. In April of 2003, Apple launched its iTunes store. Initially it only had 200,000 songs but it did become the first online store to sell music from major labels legally. Users could download the music and labels would get their money. Within the first day of opening it sold more than 250,000 songs.

5. Wikipedia Created in 2001

User-generated content became extremely popular with the popularity of the Internet increasing. While the concept of an encyclopedia was introduced as early as 1993, it was not until January of 2001that Wikipedia was established as an online encyclopedia that users could edit and add to. Initially the site was going to complement one written and edited by experts called Nupedia, but Wikipedia was extremely popular on its own. Today Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites on the Internet with millions of articles and registered users.

As the Internet gets bigger, our world gets bigger. We can expect to see many more advancements in Internet and web-based technology in the coming months and years.

Jimmy Hampton is an IT consultant and contributor at Masters in IT, a site with reviews, guides and information about getting an online Masters in Information Technology.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by balleyne