Twenty five years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist at CERN in Europe came up with a new way of storing and retrieving information using the then fledgling Internet network of computers. His idea of a ‘worldwideweb‘ [sic] took off slowly, but by the end of 1990 the first web site was up and running. Today there are estimated to be around 2.5 billion users of the system, with 1 billion of those based in Asia alone. One second of the web in action.
The first website in the world which still runs today. From 1991.
The rest, as they say, is history. Except that it’s also the future as well. As we sit here at our screens, accessing billions of bits of data and information from across the world in seconds, we are participating in the global equivalent of driving a Model T Ford. It’s clear that the ‘web’ as we now know it is going to evolve into something far removed from our current clunky computer bound information and entertainment base.
We are embarking on a journey to a time where the sum knowledge of our species will be integrated seamlessly into every fabric of our lives, instantly and in ultimate forms and resolutions permanently. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
In an attempt to offer our own personal tribute to this new, amazing and wonderful information system, we’d like to present our Top 10 examples of the glory of the web as it stands here in 2014. It’s not going to be perfect, and we know that others will have their own view, but hopefully it will provide a glimpse of what the web brings to the world.
We’ve selected this site to represent all of the incredible educational services delivered by the world wide web today, as well as for the fact that it’s an amazing piece of work itself. Ostensibly the site offers nothing more than a look at our universe in different magnification/scale points. But wow, the results are mind-blowing. From Wikipedia to Funbrain.com, the resources are huge and growing every day.
No 2. Walking On The Moon
Part of the Arounder virtual reality photography site, this simple site demonstrates the reach of the web in terms of science, exploration and human knowledge. And it’s also incredibly cool to be able to trot around in glorious 360 degree color on the surface of our neighborhood rock. Who said travel didn’t broaden the mind?
No 3. Model My Diet
Self-improvement is the goal of almost everyone on our planet, and the web has given us a range of unprecedented tools with which to accomplish our goals, whether physical, emotional or even spiritual. Our choice of this service is to show just how flexible the web can be as a tool. Just enter in your current and desired weight goals and you’ll get an indication of how it could turn out. Inspiration on tap. Or on the fridge door!
No 4. YouTube [Easter egg]
Nothing demonstrates the unbelievable progress of the web than the rise and rise of video, and most particularly YouTube. Now the 2nd largest search engine in the world, it also embodies all of the entertaining, educational and wacky aspects of the web all in one place. We thought we’d give you a cool Easter egg to play with. Click on the outside right of a video (see the red arrow!) and type in 1980 on the Num pad on your keyboard (with numlock engaged of course) and you’ll get a nice little Missile Command game to play for fun. Enjoy!
No 5. Google Street View
The globe is shrinking so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up, and one the biggest drivers for our growing understanding of world geography is the web. And one of the tools which is key is Google’s Street View, which now let’s us explore the world like never before. From our armchair. We’re offering here our very own Red Ferret pick of the top 3 Street View services which we feel provide outstanding value and entertainment in this area.
No 6. Kompoz
Art, culture and music have always brought us together, no matter where we live, and this sense of global belonging is exactly what the web enhances so well. This web service lets musicians collaborate across the globe, creating music together and building communities at the same time. It’s a fabulous way to break down walls and restore faith in our human family. Rock on!
No 7. Udemy
Someone once said, ‘all the world’s a classroom…’ or something like that, and the web is the perfect place to put that into practice. The ability to stream audio, video and full blown high resolution multimedia materials from place to place instantly has given us the power of the virtual classroom. They’re easy to use, and can deliver the kind of education which is desperately needed in the more remote parts of the world.
So there you have it, our humble tribute to the amazingness that is the World Wide Web. Crazy, powerful, important, beleaguered, abused and loved, the web embodies everything that’s great about our age. And some of the naff bits too.
What will the web look like in another 25 years? Probably unrecognizable, both in scope and delivery. It may not be totally implanted in our brains by then, but we’ll definitely be consuming it in ways we never thought possible. Thank you Tim B-L, we owe you one.