Zappos, eBay, and Craigslist were meaningless words only two decades ago. But now, they're some of the most recognizable names on the Internet.
In 1995, Bill Gates had to explain to David Letterman why the Internet, and online sites, were exciting, saying, "It's become a place where people are publishing information so everybody can have their own home page. Companies are there, the latest information, it's wild what's going on."
Now, more than 3 billion people have access to the Internet. But while the Internet has brought vast metaphorical and literal riches to many, we are also all too aware of its dark side. Privacy concerns, the fight for net neutrality, and government censoring have clouded our once-clear outlook.
What have we learned from the last 20 years and where are we headed?
Hiawatha Bray, technology writer for the business section of The Boston Globe. He’s also author of the book, “You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves.” He tweets @GlobeTechLab.
- Twenty years ago today, somebody flipped a switch and opened the floodgates. On April 30, 1995, the last federally funded portion of the Internet shut down, turning it into a free-enterprise operation.