Happy Birthday! Idea that spawned internet turns 25

March 12, 2014 4:50:40 AM PDT
Think back to your life before your smartphone or, if you can, before shopping, researching and messaging via the internet.

The World Wide Web has made life a lot easier and a lot more interesting, but before the idea was born 25 years ago Wednesday, the internet was a very different and complicated place.

In March of 1989, music was on the radio, all the news was fit to print, TV was by appointment viewing only and movies were viewed in a theater or on the VCR.

A quarter century later, that's all changed.

On March 12, 1989, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee wrote a paper proposing the architecture that would become the internet. His intent? A simple file-sharing service for scientists. Instead, it paved the way for the tech giants of today that simplify the things we do everyday.

Seriously, can you imagine not being able to search something on Google?

In 1995, a mere 14 percent of Americans told the Pew Research Center that they used the web. Maybe it had something to do with those primitive, screeching and slow dial-up modems.

According to Pew, that number jumped to 46 percent in 2000 and stands at 87 percent today. The coupling of Wi-Fi and Smartphones meaning the web is pretty much always at hand.

"I'm one of those people who would always come up with random questions and say, well, I guess I'll never know the answer to that because I don't have time to go to the library," one smartphone user said. "And now I carry the library in my pocket, which is very convenient."

Some have their own ideas for marking the web's silver anniversary.

"Maybe in some reverse way, we should all take a little break from the internet and think about the birth of the internet," one person suggested.

But most will likely keep downloading, tweeting, posting and pinning, without too much thought about the 25 years behind it.