The Web Browser
THE WORLD’S FIRST POPULAR WEB BROWSER
There’s this little thing called the World Wide Web. Maybe you’ve heard of it? You’re actually using it right now, via a browser. The first, modern Web browser was developed in Champaign-Urbana. It was even mentioned in Tom Friedman’s “The World is Flat” as one of the most important inventions in modern history. You’re welcome.
In 1993, a team of computer scientist students at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications led by Marc Andreessen released Mosaic, one of the first graphical Web browsers. The introduction of Mosaic led to an explosion in the use of the Web, increasing traffic more than 10,000-fold within a year. The technology was quickly commercialized, leading to Netscape, Firefox and countless other offspring that transformed global communication and commerce.
Today, estimates put the number of global Web users at nearly 3 billion, or approximately 40 percent of the world’s population. In the last ten years, the number of Web users has grown an astounding 221 percent. And, in the U.S. alone, online sales now generate more than $220 billion in revenue each year.