2014-3-12 // by Tim Berners-Lee // 36 Comments

Twenty-five years ago today, I filed the proposal for what was to become the World Wide Web. My boss dubbed it ‘vague but exciting’. Luckily, he thought enough of the idea to allow me to quietly work on it on the side. 

In the following quarter-century, the Web has changed the world in ways that I never could have imagined. There have been many exciting advances.  It has generated billions of dollars in economic growth, turned data into the gold of the 21st century, unleashed innovation in education and healthcare, whittled away geographic and social boundaries, revolutionised the media, and forced a reinvention of politics in many countries by enabling constant two-way dialogue between the rulers and the ruled.

There are a few principles which allowed the web, as a platform, to support such growth.  By design, the Web is universal, royalty-free, open and decentralised. Thousands of people worked together to build the early Web in an amazing, non-national spirit of collaboration; tens of thousands more invented the applications and services that make it so useful to us today, and there is still room for each one of us to create new things on and through the Web.  This is for everyone

Today, and throughout this year, we should celebrate the Web’s first 25 years. But though the mood is upbeat, we also know we are not done. We have much to do for the Web to reach its full potential. We must continue to defend its core principles and tackle some key challenges. To name just three:

  • How do we connect the nearly two-thirds of the planet who can’t yet access the Web?
  • Who has the right to collect and use our personal data, for what purpose and under what rules?
  • How do we create a high-performance open architecture that will run on any device, rather than fall back into proprietary alternatives?

There are no easy answers to these, and many other questions. Remember though that the Web was built by all of us, and so we all can, and should, play a role in defining its future. So please get involved. Send a birthday message to the Web using #web25 on any social media platform or by using this site. Support the work of the World Wide Web Foundation and the Web We Want campaign. Engage with the World Wide Web Consortium to imagine and build the future standards that will keep the Web the powerful platform for innovation that it is, starting with a symposium on the future of the Web.

Please visit this site (webat25.org) regularly for more details on events to celebrate the Web’s birthday and for more on how you can be involved in shaping its future. By working together, I believe we can build a Web that truly is for everyone: one that is accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans. Let’s use this landmark birthday as a crucial step on that path.

Translations of this post

Video transcript:

[Screen: Web25th Anniversary logo]

Imagine the world if the world wide web were turned off.

[Screen goes to white noise]

My name is Tim Berners-Lee, and I care deeply about the Web.

[Screen: Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web]

In March 1989, I wrote a proposal for a universal linked information
system that became the world wide web.

[Screen: Photo of original computer used to create the Web, and
excerpt of original proposal.]

Twenty-five years later, the Web is a powerful enabler of people,
economic activity, and democracy. So important that some have argued
that access to the Web should be elevated to a human right.

[Screen: Photo of Tim and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at
a press event on Human Rights Day 2013]

At this important milestone we need to ask ourselves:

* How do we make the web truly global; available to all people?

* How do we secure the web to protect our personal information?

* What does the web need to be more useful in education, in commerce,
in entertainment, and in social interactions?

* How do we build a universal web accessible to all, regardless of
physical or cognitive ability?

Throughout 2014, two organizations close to me—the World Wide Web
Consortium and the World Wide Web Foundation—will be organizing
activities that you can join to give answers to those questions.

Share your ideas, and make it the year that you get involved in shaping
the Web.

Together we have built an amazing Web. But we still have a lot to do
so that the Web remains truly for everyone.

[On screen: webat25.org and #web25]

Come back soon to webat25.org and happy 25th anniversary of the Web.

[On Screen: Logos for World Wide Web Consortium and World Wide Web
Foundation]

Comments

  1. Ian Jacobs

    Stay tuned on 17 March for the next blog post on webat25.org, from W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe.

  2. Nunu salsinha

    congratulation to selebrate the word wet

  3. Piet Saaiman

    I supose you’ve done well since then so i would like to say continue on that job,it makes our life so interesting when it comes to web,i wish u well,(25).

  4. Andrew

    I’d like to see a Web that doesn’t even need an ISP so you can access it. It is technically possible?

  5. lucas atama

    It has made our life easy to carry out e trade congs keep it up

  6. Della

    25 years in the making of the web, thank you so very much. I believe we all are connected in some way or another. The web is the only way to be connected to Family and Friends. I wish you well.

  7. Khalid alhaidar

    Let’s all hope that it stays neutral.

  8. Your Mom

    Keep it up, honey!

  9. Ted Fuller

    “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book UNTIL the time of the end, many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase.” - Daniel 12:4

  10. Don Moore

    Hard to believe the changes that have resulted since the development of the web Tim, thank you. Balancing the needs of privacy and protection will be an ongoing concern.

  11. Ravindra Patil

    I was expecting atleast thousands of comments here. World will be blind without www. Every thing is possible in matter of seconds because of web. It has to be secured.

  12. Rose A. Rodelo

    Thank You for the World-Wide Web. Congratulations on this Land-Mark 25th Anniversary!

    My ‘wish” for the future is ” Wi-Fi for ALL”

    Although, we are blessed in the our United States, to be able to access the WEB at Public Library’s, the reality is that; Many, even within my own community, can not afford to have it in the home. 

    Most Public Schools are also equipped. Some School districts, such like in the State of Virginia even allow Students to take home Lab Tops for a better Educational Opportunity.

    I would be interested to help in a campaign to search for communities to help families with Students up to the College Level, and Seniors whom can not afford it,(what is a luxury, to some) to be able to have the Internet at their availability at home.

    The beauty of the WEB, is a situation like this, for anyone to reach out for any cause, such as I have taken Today!  My E-Mail Address is:
    rodelorose@yahoo.com Thank you for the consideration!

  13. Rose A. Rodelo

    25 Years and Going Strong! Congratulations and Thank You!

  14. David Furst

    No… Everyone knows that Fat Al (Gore) invented the World Wide Web or Internet. Sorry my tongue is stuck in my cheek. I remember trying to get around on Prodigy back in the early days. That was quite an effort with limited size computers. It’s amazing what has happened in 25 years. I imagine there will be exponential changes in the next 25.—- Grandpa Dave

  15. Anthony Agovino

    Anthony Agovino

    Thank you, Mr. Berners-Lee for this great contribution to the world and mankind. We appreciate all you have done and are doing on behalf of the world wide web. Now we all need to get to work ensuring it remains open and free to all.

  16. Tariq Rana

    Life is so much more than the web.
    I’d rather stand in a warm summer breeze and inhale fresh cut grass…

  17. Nancy Smith

    Every civilization creates and uses different tools to ‘communicate’ the species forward in time. Let this be one that is not used to halt that movement, but to shape a better existence for all future species.

  18. Max Kershaw

    Perhaps before asking for Magna Carta style protection for the Web it needs to engender a sense of social responsibility, more importantly humane sensibilities? As this technology has opened up worlds and made life more convenient so it has also opened up a Pandora’s Box of toxic influences from hardcore violent pornography dengrading women, that children can access, to the facilitation of terrorism, dark arts crime, the grooming of minors by paedophiles and a pirating culture that threatens millions of jobs and creative industries. Just saying. It isn’t all rosy. But going by the media interviews with Tim Berners Lee you’d think it was a benchmark of civilisation.

  19. Timothy Kallen

    Tim Berners-Lee, thanks for following your dreams.

  20. Benny Atkins

    Thank you, Sir.

  21. Greg Yaacoubian

    I’m sure your family is as proud as yourself for such accomplishment. We take for granted this invention, we use it daily and never know or thank the people behind it. So here is my simple THANK YOU. Maybe you can forward this to Al Gore too:)

  22. Robin Raines

    Happy 25th Birthday Web! Thank you Sir Tim Berners-Lee for this amazing contribution to my world. I appreciate your innovation and perseverance in bring this great tool of information and communication into my life. May the whole world enjoy this same luxury. Many Thanks!

  23. Daniel Rodriguez

    GOD BLESS YOUR LIFE…  @ 4 EVER!.................

  24. Jeff James

    Thank You i have a lot of friends all over the world and i thank you for helping me to be able to connect to them let’s keep it the way it is !

    My facebook is..keizermonster@gmail.com

  25. William Callahan

    Thank you for empowering me to be smarter and more creative, without the WWW I would not be close to reaching my life’s ambition.

  26. L A Toner

    Thank you so much, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, for your wonderful and world changing invention!  Unfortunately, I can’t watch the videos or easily read this website on my old computer and low speed broadband (which is all I can afford as a disabled semi-retired computer tutor). Would it be possible to create a less flash and Java intensive version of this site so those of us with financial limitations could more fully enjoy it and join more fully in this glorious celebration?

    Happy Happy Birthday, World Wide Web!!

  27. N Fortune

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY World Wide Web. As we celebrate your 25th, I also celebrate 20 years since we were formerly introduced and instantly fell in love with this “internet”!

    Thank you Sir Tim Berners-Lee for giving us the www….... so brilliant and so generous of you to freely share such astounding information with the world.

    Connecting us all around the world within mere seconds, acquiring information within seconds, so much can be done within seconds. I can only imagine where the next 25 years will take us. Let’s make the net bigger, better, and easily accessible to all.

  28. Eslam Mahmoud

    Eslam Mahmoud

    I like tho thank every one working on webat25.org, and sure Sir Tim Berners-Lee and say Happy Birthday for the web.

  29. Lizi Obolensky

    It opened up a whole new dimension of the world for me when in 1993 my forward thinking uncle(84!)+ a geeky young friend (22) taught me how to upload his newsletters to a bbs via telnet and then AOL + Compuserve + Genie + we used Yahoo as the first directory. My friend + I built a site with no standards but a blank canvas in 1994-95 + it’s still here : ) So thank you, Tim for your sharing your brilliance + imagination with all of us!

  30. Khushboo Singh

    Congrates Mr.Lee and Thank you so much for this wonderful gift to the world and mankind.

  31. Jeff Hilton

    Jeff Hilton

    At this 25th anniversary, I feel a true sense of awe and wonder at this thing we call the world wide web. The open collaborative nature of the web’s early builders and thinkers is a glimpse into God’s creation of man as a creative, optimistic and intelligent being that can join with others to realize things greater than themselves. Lets keep this dream alive and see what we can all do together.

  32. Kiran Telukunta

    Thank you so very much for the web that you have given to the World.

    It is a great boon to Mankind.

  33. Sheila Bradbury

    To Whom It May Concern:
    I am havin’ Difficulties with the Youtube music videos. Please correct this ongoing problem.

  34. Frederico de Alencar Lasmar

    Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web would be really weird today a world without this prodigious tool.

  35. Julie Wolpers

    Julie Wolpers

    Thank you for your extraordinary vision that opened a window and let in the world. I am truly grateful.

  36. Jacky

    Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.that opened a window and let people free in the world.

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