The internet is 40 years old today.
Its exact date of birth is not quite certain but the general consensus is that October 29, 1969 was when it really started.
On that day, engineer and computer scientist Leonard Kleinrock and his colleagues watched with excitement as a big grey box was delivered to their laboratory at UCLA.
The box – the size of a fridge – was then connected with a computer that would make contact with another computer several hundreds miles away at the Stanford Research Institute.
Undergraduate Charley Kline was given the simple job of logging on remotely from UCLA to the SRI machine; his one command was “login”.
The first attempt, however, proved too much for the “interface message processor” or IMP for short – the system crashed as young Charley reached the letter “g”.
It was a slow build up with, 12 years on, only 213 computers being linked up to the network.
In 1985 things were looking up with 16m people going on through email.
But it was with the arrival of web browsers that the idea really took off, with more than 513m people online by 2001.
To date, around 1.7bn people are connected to the internet.
And what of the future?
Peter Buckley, author of the Rough Guide to the Internet told Sky News Online “now” is a very exciting time.
“We’re on the edge of cloud computing which basically means we’re migrating from computer-based programmes such as Word and Outlook to internet-based systems such as googlemail or whoever.
“What it means is that our information is now held in the ether, rather than on the computer. There are security risks of course although the internet service providers are always working hard to ensure data is protected.
Ruth Barnett, Sky News’ Twitter Correspondent says: “It is difficult to predict the future as we have seen so many unexpected innovations already, and surely no one could have realised 40 years ago how substantially it would change the way we live.
“It could become increasingly creative, open and collaborative, or we could become more and more “tethered” to the companies who make the gadgets we use to access it – such as phones or games consoles.
“There’ll always be developments hyped as the ‘next big thing’ from online shopping to Twitter to iPhones. But what I think will endure is the appetite to connect and share information, on the go.”
Content courtesy of Sky News