The Evolution of the Internet: Part 4

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Hey, guys, I’m back! Are you ready to go back down our favorite rabbit hole one last time? I know I am! I blame Bowser. You see, when all of this started, he was just a twerpy little puppy who disconnected the router, but guys, Bowser and his lover, Gloria, are having puppies! Oh, they grow up so fast.

Want to know what else grew up so fast? Our Baby Internet, grandbaby to the ARPAnet. Ready? I’m diving right into it. Back down the rabbit hole we go!

A Quick Refresher

Okay for any of us who are growing faster than our minds can handle and need a quick memory recall (Bowser), here’s what’s happened the last few times we went down our favorite rabbit hole. Grandaddy ARPAnet was developed out of necessity during the Cold War to develop a web in the sky and packet switching was developed to carry chunks of messages across that web.

Lastly, Grandaddy ARPAnet graduated from test-driving school to rise to the more sophisticated name of “the Internet.” And guys, it was BIG–even more exciting than Bowser and Gloria having puppies.

From the ARPAnet to the World Wide Web

Okay. I know it sounds like a simple name change to go from the ARPAnet to the Internet, or even later, the world wide web, but it was a huge step. It was officially the global communication network the scientists had always dreamed of. The name change happened in the 1970s, and just ten years later, our Baby Internet has added domain names (like .edu, .gov, .com, .org, etc.), registered with its first domain, and even started using dial-up access.

And believe me, if you think that growth spurt was crazy, the growth of websites was even better. Just by 1999, the number of websites was up to 20 million. If that’s how many we had to browse then, can you imagine how many we have now? Let’s just say, it’s a lot.

Anyways, back to our world wide web. You see, in its early days they were just barely developing a system of navigation for our little spider friends using URL’s (uniform resource locators) and links to get from one source of information to the other.

You know, basically a GPS system for the internet. If you wanted to get from Bowser’s profile page to the Evolution of the Internet, you can turn right in one second. 

Along with a friendly GPS system of URL’s and hyperlinks, Netscape (the Great Grandfather of Internet Explorer) was created as the first browser in 1994, followed by the first Google Search Engine in 1998. By that point, our Baby Internet had grown quite a bit and was even booming with emails, forums, and ecommerce.

But we all know there was still a bit more growing up for Baby Internet to go through. I mean, we couldn’t dial-up forever. I don’t even like waiting more than a couple of seconds for a page to load, and I’m not the only one. Can you imagine if Baby Internet hadn’t been upgraded?

Introducing Web 2.0

Well, the upgrade came, and it was a good step forward. Just like Bowser 2.0 (his puppies) are going to be better than him, this upgraded internet was so much better. By the early 2000’s, our Baby Internet was no longer a baby but a teen–complete with the mood swings, of course.

You see, by that point, the internet had introduced social media to the world, complete with Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Youtube. Business was booming for the Internet; in fact, it was boasting a total of 3.2 billion users. So I guess you could say people were impressed with it. It helped that the upgrade to the internet included making it more user-friendly.

But, as I said, the Internet’s teenage years were complete with mood swings. Since all of this online sharing was so new, nobody really knew to protect their data and personal information. Copyright infringements became an issue along with about 10.4 million records exposed daily. It was no surprise, really, when so much unprotected information got stolen on a regular basis.

That’s why the last and most current evolution of the internet involved secure networks and encrypted services and data.

The Internet as We Know It

It’s been a little over fifty years since the ARPAnet was born, and our Internet has come such a long way. Instead of just a precaution in case of a security breach during the Cold War, we use the internet to browse, learn, communicate, and even watch things like cats learning how to dance. Who knew that the internet could come so far. From barely being able to send one word between two computers across the country and good old Dial-Up to millions of conversations going on at once across continents and the genius invention of Wi-Fi, our Baby Internet really has grown up fast.

Here’s to a great next fifty years, dear Internet.

And so our journey down this rabbit hole comes to an end. I hope you enjoyed it as much as Bowser and I did. We’re sad to leave, but after all, you can only learn so much before the curiosity really does kill the cat.

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