Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

web 1.0 and web 2.0

The World Wide Web has greatly evolved and transformed our lives since its establishment, with the evolution process categorized in two eras: Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Here is a brief overview of the Web since its inception.

The World Wide Web

After its invention by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in 1989 and public opening in 1991, the software platform which we know and make use of came to be one of the main facilitators that further progressed the Information Age and established the Internet Age.

TimBL implemented the first Web browser and Web server, along with the document formatting protocol called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). However, there were many precursors that helped shape the global information space.

The first technologies that later became the technical foundations of the Internet (coined in 1974) were used in ARPANET (1969). It was the first wide-area network with distributed control that introduced packet switching – a method of grouping data into packets that are transmitted over a network.  The project was established by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense.

It’s important to distinguish the underlying definitions of the Internet and the World Wide Web, as both terms are often used to detail the same concept by the general public. The Internet describes a global system of computer networks communicating through optical networking. The World Wide Web is a global collection of linked informational resources accessed through protocols.

After the World Wide Web was set in motion in 1991. Within the next two years, over 50 websites were created during its spread throughout universities and institutions.

On the 30th of April, 1993 CERN declared that the WWW technology would be available to everyone for free. This act is an altruistic principle of the early pioneers in information technology that resonates to this day. By the end of the following year, there were a million copies of browsers surfing the web.

Web 1.0

The first evolutionary stage of the Web materialized between 1991-1994. During this time period, there were very few content creators and the majority of the traffic belonged to the consumer.

Personal web pages that served as the early social profiles, online resumes and blogs were the most common trend amongst users. They were referred to as “home pages” that were set as the default page by the browser’s owner.

The majority of the websites during this era were static. They ran through common interfaces and there was very little communication between people and the websites they used.

During the early growth of Web 1.0 (1993 – 1995), different browsers started to appear, sparking competition between Silicon Valley startups and well known giants. Microsoft introduced Internet Explorer that later went on to become the dominant browser.

New websites were being deployed at increased rates with additional improvements. New features were introduced, such as media distribution and streaming thanks to advancements in data compression.

The launch of Yahoo! in January of 1994 brought the first popular web directory along with Yahoo! Search – the first popular web search engine.

Some Web 2.0 features were already present during the Web 1.0 era but with different implementations. The guestbook page for visitor comments in static websites was a predecessor of the comment section we are familiar with.

Web 1.0 was the era that brought the emergence of broad and efficient information access to the public. This era opened up a completely new realm of resources that would later lead to further magnitudes of expansion and innovation never before perceived by humanity.

Web 2.0 – The Social Web

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Web 2.0 (2004 – present) came about thanks to further developments of tools and platforms that were introduced in Web1. This era made it easily possible for people to create and publish their content on the web.

The term was coined by Darcy Di Nucci. She described the evolved Web in an article as “a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens”. Although “Web 2.0” wasn’t popular until its Conference held in 2004.

This era highlighted the utilization of user-generated content, interoperability across products, systems and devices, and intercommunication for the end user.

Following the aftermath of the dotcom bubble, by the mid-2000s, new approaches were being taken regarding the distribution and exchange of content, such as blogs, gaining rapid popularity and acceptance on the Web.

The revolutionization of social interactions, bringing producers and consumers of information, goods, and services closer together, was what set Web 2.0 apart from Web 1.0. The most notable examples include social networking websites, video/image sharing sites, wikis, e-commerce and Web applications.

As new technologies developed, making the creation of dynamic websites easier, the Web enabled a great level of interactivity which led to a period of rapid expansion.

YouTube as a video-sharing website was based upon the concept of user-submitted content. Other social networking websites came along, such as Facebook and Twitter. These platforms became an essential part of youth culture.

The Web 2.0 platforms had yet to transcend the Internet. Apple’s introduction of the world’s first smartphone with a built-in browser was followed by other competitors. As a result, since 2016, the majority of the internet traffic is made up of mobile devices, pushing the adoption of responsive web design.

During this period, the web transformed itself from an information resource to a communication platform, changing the everyday course of human interaction.

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