A Brief History of the Internet - Page 2
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In order to view Web pages, computers need programs which have become known as Web browsers. They send a signal to a server requesting a page, and the server responds by sending the necessary data for the web page, which the browser decodes and displays on the computer screen. Naturally, Berners-Lee is the person that created the first Web browser, so that the first web pages could be viewed. This first browser was originally called the WorldWideWeb, but the name was later changed to Nexus in order to be more distinct and avoid confusing it with the World Wide Web.
The first Web site was "info.cern.ch", and it was also built by Berners-Lee. It is worth noting that its address did not begin with the "www" prefix. In fact, there is no technical reason for a website to begin with www. The "www" prefix is a result of the common Internet convention used at the time the Web was developed of giving hostnames that correspond to the protocol they serve. Another peculiarity is that the term World Wide Web is longer to say when it is abbreviated. The acronym WWW actually contains more syllables than any other three-letter acronym in the English language.
It was on August 6, 1991 that the Web became an Internet service that was available to the public. This was the date that Berners-Lee posted about the World Wide Web project to the alt.hypertext newsgroup on Usenet.
In 1993, the Mosaic web browser was released. Although it wasn't the first Web browser program, it was the first to become really popular due to its incorporation of graphics and the ability to run on the dominant mainstream operating system, Microsoft's Windows. Mosaic was originally designed for a UNIX system running X-windows, but was available for several other operating systems such as the Mac OS and Windows within a year. Almost as soon as graphics became available, the first banner ads began to appear–in 1994 to be exact. Also in 1994, Pizza Hut began to offer pizza ordering on its Web page.
Yahoo!, which was originally named "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," was started in February 1994. It was not the first internet directory, but it was the first to become widely popular. By the fall of 1994 it had hit 1 million hits in a single day, with almost 100 thousand unique visitors. During its initial public offering in 1996, it sold 2.6 million shares–33.8 million dollars worth–at $13 each.
As of 2006, according to Internet World Stats, around 70% of the population in the United States is on the internet. Throughout the world, there are almost 1.1 billion users of the Internet as of 2006 and half of them reside in Europe and Asia. Worldwide Internet usage increased over 200% in thesix years from 2000 to 2006, yet there is still plenty of room for expansion considering that less than 1/6 of the world population is online. It is expected that US and world Internet usage will continue to grow.
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