Happy Internaut Day: The beginning of the World Wide Web

HAVE you ever heard the term "Internaut"?

Today is considered by some to be The Internaut's Day but not many actually know what that means.

Internaut is a portmanteau of the words "internet" and "astronaut."

It means a person who either designs internet sites, or operates internet sites, or even uses internet sites (and yes- that might be you...looking at this on the internet right now... but it's a term for those fluent in the intricacies of the World Wide Web).

Today is the anniversary of the opening up of the World Wide Web to the general public. This was "craze" or "fad" people assumed would fade away eventually...but little did they know it would change the world as they knew it.

The World Wide Web, usually referred to as the Web (or WWW, or W3), was the brainchild of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee.

He first developed the system of identifiers (URIs) and hyperlinks, to be accessed via the Internet, as a better system for CERN scientists to communicate with one another. But he instantly realised that the system could be used throughout the world.

He built the very first website in December of 1990, tested how it worked, wrote up the results in August of 1991, and finally opened up the system to all users on August 23, 1991.

What's the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet?

The Internet is a huge network of networks.

It is the infrastructure that connects millions of computers together all over the world. A computer in Spot A can communicate with a computer halfway around the world, at Spot B, as long as both computers are connected to the Internet.

Information travels over the Internet using several different languages (or "protocols").

The World Wide Web is an information-sharing model that is built on top of the Internet. It uses only one protocol, HTTP. Users can either type a URL (which all start "http://" and often include "www.") in order to find a particular website, or they can use a Web browser such as Google to find websites that suit their needs. Websites can include text, graphics, sounds, and videos.

If the World Wide Web was a gigantic circle that included all websites, the Internet would be an even larger circle that entirely contained the Web - BUT also included e-mail, Usenet news groups, Instant Messaging… the list goes on.

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