[LINK] Internet's web to get wider and wider

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Apr 23 08:52:19 AEST 2009

Internet's web to get wider and wider
April 23, 2009 - 7:47AM

While the internet has dramatically changed lives around the world, its 
full impact will only be realised when far more people and information 
go online, its founders said on Wednesday.

"The web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still 
so much bigger than the past," said Tim Berners-Lee, one of the 
inventors of the World Wide Web, at a seminar on its future.

Just 23 per cent of the globe's population currently uses the internet, 
according to the United Nation's International Telecommunications Union, 
with use much higher in developed nations.

By contrast, just five per cent of Africans surf the web, it said in a 
report issued in March.

But that level is expected to rise, especially in developing nations, as 
mobile internet access takes off, making it no longer necessary to use a 
computer to surf the web, said internet co-founder Vinton Cerf.

"We will have more internet, larger numbers of users, more mobile 
access, more speed, more things online and more appliances we can 
control over the internet," the Google vice-president and chief internet 
evangelist said.

Robert Cailliau, who designed the web with Berners-Lee in 1989, said 
having more data on the internet, and more people with the ability to 
access it, will spur the development of new technology and solutions to 
global problems.

"When we have all data online it will be great for humanity. It is a 
prerequisite to solving many problems that humankind faces," the Belgian 
software scientist said.

The internet has already led to the development of businesses that could 
not have existed without it, boosted literacy and learning and brought 
people closer together through cheaper modes of communication, the 
internet pioneers said.

"We never, ever in the history of mankind have had access to so much 
information so quickly and so easily," said Cerf.

With the help of other scientists at the European Organisation for 
Nuclear Research (CERN), Berners-Lee and Cailliau set up the web in 1989 
to allow thousands of scientists around the world to share information 
and data.

The http://WWW technology - which simplifies the process of searching 
for information on the internet - was first made more widely available 
from 1991.

The number of websites has since ballooned from just 500 as recently as 
1994 to over 80 million currently, with growing numbers of sites 
consisting of user-generated content like blogs.

Even its founders are surprised by its popularity.

"What we did not imagine was a web of people, but a web of documents," 
said Dale Dougherty, the founder of GNN, the Global Network Navigator, 
the first web portal and the first site on the internet to be supported 
by advertising.

For his part, Cailliau said he was impressed that search engines can 
still sort through the myriad of material that is now online.

"To me the biggest surprise is that Google still functions despite the 
explosion in the number of sites," said Cailliau.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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