A tremendous new burst of creativity on the web

I am just stunned at what we're seeing these days. In my previous post (134 Ajax Frameworks and Counting) I wrote about just one of these changes. That piqued my interest and I did some research on the incredible and amazing Wikipedia:

Consider these dates

First, some context. Let's look at the 1800's (not 1900's).

  • 1800 Volta constructs the first device to produce a large electric current (battery)
  • 1886 First motorbike
  • 1886 First automobile designed and built — rather than a converted carriage, boat, or cart.
  • 1889 First vehicle with seats, brakes, and steering, and included a four-stroke engine

Now let's jump forward only 83 years:

  • 1971 the NASDAQ is launched – it operates entirely electronically (unlike the NYSE)
  • 1972 First Intel chip
  • 1977 First ATM (automatic teller machine)
  • 1977 First Apple II home computer (no graphical user interface)
  • 1981 First IBM PC
  • 1983 Apple Lisa home computer (including graphical user interface)
  • 1984 Apple Macintosh introduced
  • 1985 EFTPOS Introduced (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale)

Think about what happened in the first 14 years from the first Intel chip to 1985. Quite incredible how fast things moved.

Let's focus on one of two of those dates: the first Apple computer was available in 1977 and IBM PC in 1981. Now fast forward only 8 years later when Tim Berners-Lee writes a proposal for what we know as the web:

  • 1989, Berners-Lee wrote Information Management: A Proposal (it described an elaborate information management system)
  • 1990 With help from Robert Cailliau, Berners-Lee published a more formal proposal for the World Wide Web
  • 1990 Berners-Lee had built all the tools necessary for a working Web
  • 1991 The first web browser (which was a web editor as well) announced
  • 1991 Berners-Lee posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup
  • 1993 CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone, with no fees due
  • 1993 Release of the graphical Mosaic web browser by Marc Andreessen
  • 1994 Netscape Navigator launched

Think about what happened in the first 5 years! We go from proposal in 1989 to Mosaic in 1993 and Netscape in 1994.

So what happens that same year in 1994?

  • 1994 Justin Hall begins to blog (it wasn't called blogging then)
  • 1994 First wiki is created offline
  • 1994 Yahoo! incorporated
  • 1995 First wiki (WikiWikiWeb) is installed on the web by Ward Cunningham
  • 1996 Xanga launched (blog or diary site)
  • 1996 DoubleClick begins (advertising)
  • 1996 Blog site Xanga has 100 diaries
  • 1997 "weblog" term coined by Jorn Barger
  • 1998 Google incorporated

I find this interesting, in those 4 years blogging has already begun and all the major players (Google, DoubleClick etc.) have already become established.

Now comes a tremendous new burst of creativity:

  • 2000 RSS developed
  • 2000 Tristan Louis proposes a draft of what came to be known as PodCasting
  • 2001 Wikipedia begins
  • 2003 Dave Winer creates first MP3 podcast on his site
  • 2004 "Podcasting" word coined
  • 2004 DIGG website created
  • 2005 Xanga has 50 million blog diaries

Think about what has happened in the very first 11 years of the web!

As soon as the web became available people began to blog and communicate. (reBlogger was built in 2004 to collect and index web feeds by kewords and made public in 2006. heheheh.)

I want to highlight the speed of three developments

  • The Apple Mac brought the PC into the public arena in 1984 and by 1993 we had Mosaic
  • From Netscape in 1994 to now (2006) we have 80 million websites on the web
  • From the creation of RSS in 2000 to now (2006) we have 40 million blogs

I find it interesting that blogs have come up far faster than websites. But something else is bubbling up – and it's coming up MUCH faster than anything we have seen before:

In only 1 year we have seen the enormous growth of Ajax and social DIGG-style websites in particular. I know the basic technology had been there since 1997 in Netscape and 1996 in Microsoft IE and Microsoft used aspects of it in their 2000 web based software, but I am tracking the moment it entered the public consciousness and therefore began to be used and developed.

Some people might draw other conclusions from these dates. I'd like to hear from you.


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