The 50 most significant moments of Internet history

The Internet has revolutionised the way we live, over almost 50 years of development. In this feature, we detail the 50 defining moments we feel are most significant to the Web

Back in 1995, Time magazine published a cover story called 'On A Screen Near You'. It highlighted the results of an 18-month Carnegie Mellon University study (with the dated title 'Marketing Pornography on the Information Superhighway') that looked at how much porn there was on the Net. And as demonstrated by the magazine's cover image of a shocked little boy in front of a computer, the Internet was overrun with porn and perverts, and the kids weren't safe any more.

But it was the nature of the article itself that was interesting. It focused on bulletin board systems and newsgroups, dial-up modems, and terms like 'Information Superhighway', 'cyberporn', and 'phone bill'. Times have changed. But even in 1995, the Internet -- as opposed to the Web -- had seen a couple of decades of development. And it's now had over a decade more. It's given us hundreds and hundreds of milestones; thousands of defining moments.

We decided to plough the history of the entire Internet, from the roots of its underlying technology, to the Web properties that helped it explode, the litigation it endured on the way and disasters companies have suffered as a result of the Net's popularity. We've picked 50 of what we think are the most significant moments, in ten categories spanning almost 40 years of Internet history:

Chapter 1) In the Beginning
Chapter 2) Wiring the Web
Chapter 3) All About Email
Chapter 4) Welcome to the Social
Chapter 5) Online Media
Chapter 6) Web Property
Chapter 7) Web 1.0
Chapter 8) Web 2.0
Chapter 9) Law and Order
Chapter 10) Most Epic Fails

We've given credit at the end to some of the notable mentions that didn't make the final list, but we encourage you to add your own suggestions in the comments below. After all, with close to 50 years of Internet development, our list can at most highlight only one development per year.

So, without further ado, we'll begin over the page with some of the earliest days of the Internet as we know it, in 1974. -Nate Lanxon

 

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