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30 years ago, one decision altered the course of our connected world

NPR: “30 years ago, listeners tuning into Morning Edition heard about a futuristic idea that could profoundly change their lives. “Imagine being able to communicate at-will with 10 million people all over the world,” NPR’s Neal Conan said. “Imagine having direct access to catalogs of hundreds of libraries as well as the most up-to-date news, business and weather reports. Imagine being able to get medical advice or gardening advice immediately from any number of experts. “This is not a dream,” he continued. “It’s internet.” But even in the early 1990s, that space-age sales pitch was a long way from the lackluster experience of actually using the internet. It was almost entirely text-based, for one. It was also difficult to use. To read a story from NPR, for example, you would need to know which network-equipped computer had the file you wanted, then coax your machine into communicating directly with the host. And good luck if the computers were made by different manufacturers. But 30 years ago this week, that all changed. On April 30, 1993, something called the World Wide Web launched into the public domain. The web made it simple for anyone to navigate the internet. All users had to do was launch a new program called a “browser,” type in a URL and hit return. This began the internet’s transformation into the vibrant online canvas we use today. Anyone could build their own “web site” with pictures, video and sound. They could even send visitors to other sites using hyperlinked words or phrases underlined in blue. This became one of the web’s most game-changing features, putting different corners of our digital knowledge-base just a mouse click away…”

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