Tim Berners-Lee demonstrates the World Wide Web in 1991.

1990s: World Wide Web

Each day as part of the Great British Innovation Vote – a quest to find the greatest British innovation of the past 100 years – we’ll be picking one innovation per decade to highlight. Today, from the 1990s, it’s the turn of the World Wide Web.

“No technology has been so pervasive so quickly as the internet. Twenty-five years ago it was a mystery to most people and now several billion of us use it everyday, several times a day.”  Brian Eno on why you should vote for the the World Wide Web.

“What made the internet really viable, the blood in it veins if you like, was the brilliant invention of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web. What made that so universal was the decision to make it free. So, to brilliance, add generosity.”

Born out of a need for scientists at CERN to share data more efficiently, computer scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Belgian Robert Cailliau created a system of linked ‘hypertext’ documents accessible through a global computer network.

Tim Berners-Lee demonstrates the World Wide Web in 1991.

Tim Berners-Lee demonstrates the World Wide Web in 1991. Image credit: CERN

Described at the time as ‘vague but exciting’ by his boss, Berners-Lee went on to host the first web page in December 1990, and today over 2.4 billion people – more than a third of the population of Earth – have access to over a trillion web pages which make up the World Wide Web.

Click here to vote for the World Wide Web as the greatest British innovation of the past 100 years. 

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