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How The Internet Was Born

Next year will mark the 60th Anniversary of something that has forever changed our lives. In 1958 the U.S. Government created a unit called the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), to develop new efforts in science and technology. This is the agency that started the Internet.

Packet Switching

2018 will also mark the 25th anniversary of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser which enabled the internet to be used by everyday people. The internet’s conception was brought about first by Paul Baran, an electrical engineer that developed packet switching. Packet switching breaks data into chunks and allows each to take its own path to its destination.

Later, Leonard Kleinrock, a professor of computer science at U.C.L.A, helped to create computer networks and in 1969 the Advanced Research Projects Agency built ‘interface message processors’ (I.M.P.’s), also known as nodes or packet switches. Vint Cerf, worked with Leonard Kleinrock at U.C.L.A and is the co-designer, alongside Bob Kahn of TCP and IP protocols that give the internet its linking structure. Cerf is now the Chief Internet Evangelist at Google.

Bringing the Internet to the Everyman

A decade after TCP was created, the internet was taken up by university researchers and other early adopters of the technology. The early stages of Web culture can be traced back to the usenetand bulletin boards that evolved at the same time.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s, however, when Apple Computer, Inc, was founded by engineers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak that the internet was truly embraced by the everyman. In 1977 Apple introduced the Apple II, one of the very first personal computers which was priced at $1,200, that computers made it into people’s homes. In 1981, IBM launched Apple II’s competitor product the IBM PC.


You’ve Got Mail

After the birth of the internet came the birth of email. In 1985 Steve Case, a product manager at Pizza Hut was hired by Control Video to market its electronic-gaming service. After a few years Case was Control Video’s chief executive and helped the company delve deeper into interactivity and communications. That company was rebranded and renamed America Online. The catchphrase ‘You’ve got mail’ quickly became a greeting for a new generation.

Pearl Harbor Day

In 1995 the browser, Netscape Navigator heavily dominated the market. On December 7, 1995, Bill Gates, C.E.O. of Microsoft, gave a speech to his employees highlighting the company’s new, aggressive approach to the Internet. Microsoft put Netscape in their sights and created a team of programmers to develop Internet Explorer. This event is known as Pearl Harbor Day.


Just one year later, in 1996, the Australian CSIRO patented its WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) technology in the United States. While research John O’Sullivan was working on an experiment with atoms and black holes, a mathematical formula he was using led to the discovery of Wi-Fi.


2 years after WLAN was patented, in 1998 two students from the University of Stanford, Sergey Brin and Larry Page showcased their prototype of a search engine that they believed would outperform all others. They named that search engine Google (from the mathematical term ‘googol’, or 10 to the 100th power). And so created the internet we know and love today.