On this date in 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, a British physicist working at CERN, Europe’s particle physics laboratory, wrote a memo to his boss modestly entitled “Information Management: A Proposal”. Mr Berners-Lee proposed to develop a way to share information over a computer network.
“A ‘web’ of notes with links (like references) between them is far more useful than a fixed hierarchical system,” he wrote. The rest is history. It took only seven years from the first web pages in 1991 for the web to be used by a quarter of the American population.
That compares with 46 years for electricity, 35 years for the phone and 26 years for television. “Vague, but exciting”, wrote Mr Berners-Lee’s supervisor at the top of his CERN memo (a diagram from which appears under the chart). The web, just 25 years old, is still at the start of its life.