Pew Research Wishes the Internet a Happy Anniversary With New Report

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Despite the meme, Al Gore did not invent the Internet; it existed in the form of bulletin board systems and email. The Internet as we know it has its origins in a 1989 concept paper written by Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist who was working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory. That concept paper contained a new system for organizing and accessing the Internet using link-related content with hypertext, a system for organizing related documents. A year later, he developed the first web client and server. The WorldWideWeb — the first web browser — was born. Berners-Lee was knighted for this pioneering work in 2004.

Pew Research’s Internet Project has released a report, “The Web at 25 in the U.S.” to mark the upcoming 25th anniversary. The results show that the Internet has wormed its way into the average American’s life in a big way. Twenty-five years after that initial paper, the Internet is a major telecommunications platform — in case anyone missed that memo. The results show that approximately 87 percent of Americans use the Internet. A growing number of them are connecting to the Internet using a cell phone in place of a computer, too.

The report shows that 81 percent of Americans use a computer. A higher percentage, 90 percent, use a cell phone. The Internet is seen as a good thing; about 76 percent say the Internet is good for society. Another 90 percent say that the Internet has been good for them personally.

Indeed, the Internet is starting to become essential. Even a German court ruled last year that the online service is imperative when a man sued for compensation after lacking it for two months. Across the pond, it’s definitely considered more essential than a television or phone, whether landline or cellular, according to the Pew report.

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