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75 years of Independence: Looking back, looking forward on how the Internet Explorer paved the way for Google Chrome

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 07-08-2022 Ritarshi Banerjee
Web3.0 is all about immersive experiences through avatars, non-fungible tokens, usage of blockchain, and finally creation of a decentralised financial system through cryptocurrency. © Provided by The Financial Express Web3.0 is all about immersive experiences through avatars, non-fungible tokens, usage of blockchain, and finally creation of a decentralised financial system through cryptocurrency.

Computer scientists Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn are popularly known as the fathers of the Internet. It all began in 1980, when the duo set up a guideline for data transfer calling those TCP/IP, or Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol. Back at home Education and Research Network (ERNET) was started in 1986 by the Department of Electronics (DoE). The Government of India and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), involve eight premier institutions as participating agencies NCST (National Centre for Software Technology) Bombay, IISc (Indian Institute of Science) Bangalore, five IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) at Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Madras, and the DoE, New Delhi, provided the much-needed funds. It began as a multi-protocol network and since 1995, almost all traffic is carried over TCP/IP.

World Wide Web 1.0

Historically, while many ways have been used to transfer data from one the computer to another, it was in 1989 that Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invented the World Wide Web (WWW), during his tenure at CERN. At the time it was built to meet the demand for automated information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world. 

And there was no stopping since then. The late ’90s saw Netscape capturing the browser market with an 86% share and leaving Internet Explorer with just 10%. But Microsoft caught up in the game as it began to integrate its browser with its operating system and bundle deals with OEMs. It is believed that within four years since its roll-out Internet Explorer captured 75% of the market share and by 1999, it has 99%. release IE had 75% of the browser market and by 1999 it had 99% of the market. Interestingly, almost at the same time, Apple was busy creating its own eco-system. In fact, prior to the release of Mac OS X, Internet Explorer for Mac and Netscape were the primary browsers. 

As the Internet war gained momentum, Netscape responded by open sourcing its product, thereby creating Mozilla. While this provided Netscape a technical edge, it didn’t save the company and finally, it was purchased by America Online in late 1998.

Web2.0 and its Evolution

Even as the Mozilla project struggled to attract developers in the beginning by 2002, it had evolved into a relatively stable proposition. Also in 2002, a spinoff project was initiated to start Firefox. Further, AOL announced that it would retire support and development of the Netscape web browser in February 2008. In the second half of 2004, Internet Explorer reached its peak with a market share of more than 92% but then came Chrome by Google in September 2008, and since then the latter has walked away with a large part of the market from players as Internet Explorer and Yahoo. 

In between, the industry also witnessed the launch of Opera in 1996. A popular choice in handheld devices, particularly mobile phones, it however is a niche player in the PC Web browser market. 

Web3.0  – Kal, Aaj, Kal 

And now we are moving towards, Web3.0 which is all about immersive experiences, through Avaatars, non-fungible tokens, usage of blockchain and finally creation of a decentralised financial system through cryptocurrency. We have just begun to take tiny steps towards this evolution – whether it will sustain or not time will tell. As we embark on this journey, the current generation is also being made aware of the concept of multi-verse. 

Going forward, it will be interesting to watch how are Avaatars may live a separate and totally different life of the Internet as opposed to real life. The question will the lines blur between reel and real. 

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