Keeping in mind that we are constantly talking about the news and improvements that digital marketing and technology bring us, we consider that it is a good time to dedicate a post to what today seems essential to us: Internet. Today we discuss the history of the Internet, beginning with the fact that it was born, at the time, as a military project to be able to secure communications between different parts of the United States in the event of a major attack, but luckily, it never occurred. He came to use in this situation and today is a fundamental tool for many of us that have changed our way of acting, communicating and working.
Let’s see step by step how were the stages of this process.
History of the Internet: The Cold War
First of all, let’s put ourselves in context. To begin the history of the Internet, we go back to 1947 when the Cold War begins, a confrontation started at the end of World War II. We all Know that this is a conflict caused between the Western-capitalist block led by the United States of America and the Eastern-Communist block led then by the.
One reason for calling this Unfaced “cold war” is because they never Faced each other directly but, in return, they were spreading the rest of the countries with the objective of expanding their model.
After a long period of confrontations, during the last stage, the Soviet economic model stagnated and the United States was militarily reinforced which positioned it then in a favorable situation. In 1985 Gorbachev became Secretary General and was the one who promoted a series of reforms known as Perestroika (restructuring). After several approaches, at the end of 1989 Gorbachev and the successor of Reagan, George HW Bush, declared the Cold War ended. Then came the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union as such.
Internet History: ARPA
In 1957 the USSR launched the first artificial satellite in history, Sputnik 1, and, in this context, the Advanced Research Projects Agency ( ARPA ) is organized in the United States, known as ARPA and linked to the Defense Department. This was created in response to the technological and military challenges of the then USSR and, a decade later, it would be considered the organization that laid the foundations of what would be known as the Internet decades later.
Throughout the following years, great advances were made. In 1962, Paul Baran, researcher of the Government of the United States, presented a communication system that, by means of computers connected to a decentralized network, was immune to external attacks. In case one or several nodes were destroyed, the others could continue communicating without any problem.
This project was based on the work of Leonard Kleinrock who a year earlier published from the MIT the theory of packet switching that raised the feasibility of using this revolutionary technique. This theory is based on the fact that all the information that comes out of a device is broken into blocks to be transmitted by the network and these blocks are called packages.
Work continued to establish a network that could be accessed from anywhere in the world, which was named “galactic network”. In 1965, a TX2 computer in Massachusetts was connected to a Q-32 in California via a low-speed but still limited dial-up telephone line. It worked and allowed them to work in a connected way but, as is easy to imagine at the moment, the system was inadequate.
Internet History: ARPANET
In the following years, research continues until in 1969 Michel Elie, considered one of the pioneers of the Internet, joined the UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles) and joined ARPA with a research grant. At the end of this year, the UCLA computer is connected to another from the SRI (Stanford Research Institute).
Soon after, there were already four interconnected American universities. This network was called ARPANET and the objective of this development was to maintain communications in case of war in the face of uncertainty and fear of the moment. It was quite a revolution since until then they only had a centralized network that was considered very insecure in case of war because the system could be easily blocked.
In 1970 ARPANET is consolidated. Ray Tomlinson lays the foundation for what is now known as email. This need arises because the developers needed a coordination mechanism that they covered with this system.
The network went from military agencies to universities and defense projects in the country with increasing force. The scientists used it and developed it to allow, also, to share opinions and establish collaborations in work. In 1972, it already included 50 universities and research centers that were distributed throughout the United States. A year later, ARPANET has already established connections with other countries such as England and Norway.
With the rise of the commercialization of computers, the number of connected computers was increasing and from the 80s other networks appeared which, as we can imagine, caused chaos due to the wide variety of formats of the connected computers. Once unified and consolidated, the Internet is born.
Internet History: From ARPANET to WWW
1983 is the Year that is known as “Internet was born”. Then, US Department of Defense has decided to utilize TCP / IP protocol in its Arpanet network, Know known as Arpa Internet network. In 1991 Tim Berners Lee created the World Wide Web using three new resources: HTML, TTP and a program called Web Browser.
The World Wide Web grew rapidly: in 1993 there were only 100 World Wide Web Sites and in 1997 already more than 200,000. And from then on, the fascinating history of the Internet continues to this day.
History of the Internet: The adaptation of business
To situate ourselves and put ourselves in context, I want to share an example that I read in the book ” Your Digital Marketing Plan” by Mau Santambrosio and Patricia de Andrés, in which they explained the case of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I think it’s a good example in this article about the history of the Internet.
This encyclopedia, in 1990, was a reference in its field. Its 32 volumes had a cost close to 1,400 dollars and, in the United States alone, about 100,000 encyclopedias were sold per year. Six years later, with the bewildering arrival of the Internet and the great change it brought, this figure dropped to 3,000. Those years were hard. Things were changing and his product had to change if he wanted to survive.
In March 2012, after 244 years, the end of an era for the company was announced: they would no longer print the paper version of the encyclopedia. So? Did they close the company? Well, no. They anticipated and were able to foresee that this moment could arrive, so in 2012 their printed edition only represented 1% of the business and the company had already presented benefits for 9 years, so they had been preparing for that moment in those previous years. This case seems to be a great example to understand how complex and important it has been to adapt to the digital sector and especially difficult for such traditional companies and with a product as settled as in this case that we discussed.
The Era of Social Networks
We could say that the world of social networks began in the mid-90s with the creation of GeoCities, which recommended users to create their web pages and install them in “neighborhoods”, where they would be related to users of the same neighborhood.
Anyway, the first social network like the ones we have today was sixdegrees.com which is no longer accessible. Following the theory of 6 degrees of separation, six degrees allowed its users to connect by invitation with other users creating community, and allowed them to send messages and see when they connected. It had more than 1 million users, although it disappeared in 2001.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube
With the passage of time, social networks were evolving, creating in 2002 Friendster, a social network for lovers of video games. In 2003 MySpace, Linkedin (social network in the employment environment) and in 2004 a Harvard University named Mark Zuckerberg created the social network that today is the most important in the world: Facebook.
In the middle of 2005, the legend tells that at a party in San Francisco, 3 Paypal workers recorded a video and had difficulty sending it to their friends. Because of this inconvenience came the idea of creating YouTube, the most important social video network today.
The beginning of the Facebook Era
Although it was created in 2004, Facebook did not have its great boom until 2007, when it could be translated into many languages, thus reaching countries around the world. Although social networks were initiated only as a social model, over the years social networks have been acquiring a lot of relevance in the field of marketing. The large companies were observing the great relevance they were acquiring and saw the possibility of business in marketing on social networks.
Facebook, with more than 2 billion users, was developing, among others, its Facebook Ads advertising system, Google created its advertising and analysis tools, and then all social networks incorporated advertisements in its interface.
The companies were also incorporating social networks as a business model, but the system was increasingly difficult to manage so they needed the creation of new specialists, born the figures of the Community and Social media manager among others.
History of the Internet: Rise of E-commerce
With the creation of the first iPhone created by the Apple brand in 2007 that facilitated access to the internet from a mobile device and the appearance of new technologies, e-commerce was becoming more and more important and more and more companies were expanding Your business is towards digital commerce.
A notable example is Amazon, currently one of the most powerful eCommerce in the world with Jeff Bezos in command. Although Amazon began as an electronic bookstore in 1997 in the garage of his home in Seattle and with part of the capital ceded by the Bezos family, it has become one of the most powerful online stores in the world, with an annual turnover of 50,000 million euros and with the dream of Jeff Bezos fulfilled: “Become the store of everything”
Another large e-commerce, on the opposite side of Amazon, highlights the Asian empire of Alibaba. Created by the Chinese philologist Jack Ma , passionate about the movie Forrest Gump, his company started in 2000 with a budget of 50,000 dollars and 50 people on staff and today, being a conglomerate of companies in which AliExpress stands out, for example, approximately 24,000 people work for Alibaba and its value is estimated at 231,000 million euros.
And we did not want to end our Internet History without mentioning electronic commerce in Spain. Although it is estimated that 75% of businesses have an online platform, it stands out above all of them a small tailor shop that started its business in 1940 and ended up becoming the most important commercial galleries in Spain. An example of a good leap towards the online, they started their activity in 2011 and ended the year with 3.7 million clients, increasing to 32 million in January 2017, becoming the most visited Spanish business website in Spain.