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January 08, 2015

World Wide Web celebrates a quarter-century

That's several lifetimes in Internet time

If you happen to have a happy belated birthday card tucked in a drawer somewhere you may want to consider sending it to the World Wide Web.

With its various user-friendly browser interfaces, the Web helped turn the vast network of computers and servers known as the Internet into the greatest technological advancement since someone discovered how to start a fire at will. Last year marked its 25th birthday.

Across both cyberspace and IRL (“in real life” for those still not up on all the Internet lingo) technologists and futurists celebrated Sir Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the web in 1989 and research papers on the impact of the Internet on everyday life were unveiled.  

The most ambitious reports came from the Pew Research Center’s Internet project, which spent the year polling and measuring the current state and possible future of online life, from privacy, or the lack thereof,  to the increase of cyber attacks.  Last week, the center released its latest and final report, this one on the Web’s impact at the workplace and what interactive tools people most use.  According to Pew:

“Despite a generation of threats and competitors, email ranks as the most important digital tool for workers who use the Internet. Only 4 percent of these networked workers cite social media as very important on the job … 36 percent say they spend more time working because of the Internet and cell phones and 46 percent say the Internet has made them more productive.”

The celebrations weren't all work-related. The center polled 1,066 Internet users nationally to test their Web knowledge. You can take the quiz here  and compare how you did with the rest of the nation. 

Play nice. No fair using Wikipedia - another reason to cheer the World Wide Web! - to cheat.