Saturday, July 30, 2005

Speaking of birthdays

The August issue of Wired Magazine has a nifty little article about the birth of Google. It's part of their "10 Years That Changed The World" theme about the explosion of the Internet into the public consciousness that began with Netscape's IPO back in 1995. Hard to believe it's only been ten years. I remember how novel email and "z-grams" (an ancestor of instant messaging) seemed when I got to MIT as a starry-eyed froshling in 1990. Search engines were unheard of, and the Web at that point consisted of boring home pages of university gearheads and the occasional cache of free porn. The concept of using this medium to sell things or provide any useful information to the casual user had a few years yet to evolve, so consequently it was a hell of a lot easier back then to find truly bizarre content -- again most of it pornographic -- than it is now.

Now I can't fathom life without the Web. Without Google. Without Instant Messaging and Email (actually without Gmail at this point!). How quickly the whole darned paradigm can shift. The only real thread of continuity between 1995 and 2005 is that pictures of naked people are still in as high demand as ever...

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