25 years of the World Wide Web: 25 Web superstars
Here's a look at some of the pioneers that have helped make the Web what it is today.
Tim Berners Lee: inventor of the World Wide Web
British computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He made a proposal for an information management system in March 1989, and implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet later that year. Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the Web's continued development, and founder of the World Wide Web Foundation.
Robert Cailliau: developer of the first Mac web browser
A Belgian informatics engineer and computer scientist who worked with Tim Berners-Lee to develop the World Wide Web. Cailliau worked at CERN from 1974 until he retired in 2007. He helped to develop the first web browser for the Mac OS operating system called MacWWW, and also started the ‘Web for Schools’ project with the European Commission, introducing the web as a resource for education.
Vint Cerf: developer of the first commercial email system
Recognised as one of the “fathers of the Internet", Vint Cerf was instrumental in the development of the first commercial email system connected to the Internet. He also helped to form of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is responsible for the coordination of the global Internet's address system. Cerf has worked for Google as a Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since October 2005.
Marc Andreessen: creator of the first web browser
Best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser, Marc Andreessen is an American entrepreneur, investor and software engineer. Together with Eric Bina he also co-founded Netscape, the company responsible for Netscape Navigator, which was the dominant web browser in the 1990s. Andreessen now sits on the board of directors of Facebook, eBay and HP, and his venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has invested in Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest and Twitter.
Arthur C Clarke: web visionary
British science fiction writer best known for co-writing of the screenplay for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was also the first person to propose a satellite communication system. He contributed to the popularity of the idea that geostationary satellites would be ideal telecommunications relays, and foresaw a future of ubiquitous, internet-enabled, personal computers.
James Gosling: inventor of the Java programming language
A Canadian computer scientist, Gosling is generally credited with having invented the Java programming language, which is one of the most popular programming languages in use for web applications, with a reported 9 million developers. He worked for Sun Microsystems between 1984 and 2010 but left when the company was acquired by Oracle, cited reductions in pay, status, and decision-making ability, change of role, and ethical challenges.
Bill Gates: founder of Microsoft
Microsoft founder Bill Gates was relatively slow to recognise the importance of the web. But following his internal "Internet Tidal Wave’ memo" in May 1995, Microsoft began shipping the Internet Explorer web browser together with its Windows operating system, resulting in widespread adoption on the Web. Internet Explorer is still one of the most widely used web browsers, attaining a peak of about 95pc market share during 2002 and 2003.
Linus Torvalds: creator of Linux
A Finnish American software engineer who was the principal force behind the development of Linux, which now runs vast swathes of the internet, including Google and Facebook. He also invented Git software, which is used by developers across the web to build applications. He now acts as the coordinator of the Linux kernel project.
Richard Stallman: founder of the Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman has been a key voice in the campaign for privacy on the web. In particular, he has drawn attention to the “mass surveillance” tactics used by companies like Facebook and Google, as well as government agencies like the NSA. Stallman also campaigns against software patents, digital rights management, and other legal and technical systems which he sees as taking away users' freedoms.
Steve Crocker: chairman of ICANN
Steve Crocker has been involved in the Internet since its inception. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, while he was a graduate student at UCLA, he was part of the team that developed the protocols for the ARPANET and laid the foundation for today's Internet. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). He is also co-founder of Shinkuro, a start-up company focused on dynamic sharing of information across the Internet and the deployment of improved security protocols.
Larry Page & Sergey Brin: founder of Google
Founders of Google, the world’s biggest search engine, which allows users to search the web for the information they want through the use of keywords. While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, Larry Page and Sergey Brin theorised about a better system that analysed the relationships between websites. Today Google indexes billions of web pages, as well as offering a wide range of cloud-based productivity tools.
Steve Jobs: co-founder of Apple
As a pioneer of the personal computer revolution, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was responsible for the launch of the iPhone, a device that dramatically changed how people accessed the web. The iPhone was the first smartphone with a computer-grade web browser. For the first time, mobile users could view entire web pages in their real layouts. This is now a common feature of most smartphones, and many websites have been redesigned to accommodate smaller screen sizes.
Jeff Bezos: founder of Amazon
Amazon founder and technology entrepreneur who has played a key role in the growth of e-commerce. Under his guidance, Amazon.com became the largest retailer on the web and a top model for Internet sales. Amazon.com started as an online bookstore, but now sells a wide range of products, from video games to jewellery. The company also produces consumer electronics -- notably the Amazon Kindle e-book reader and the Kindle Fire tablet computer -- and is a major provider of cloud computing services.
Jimmy Wales: co-founder of Wikipedia
American Internet entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia. Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia broke the mould by allowing outside editing. Volunteers worldwide collaboratively write Wikipedia's 30 million articles in 287 languages, marking a departure from the previously established method of expert-driven encyclopedia-building. In 2004 Wales also co-founded Wikia, a for-profit wiki-hosting service.
Mark Zuckerberg: founder of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg transformed the web once again when he launched Facebook in 2004, allowing users to build up a private network of friends with which they could communicate and share information. The social network is now the second biggest website in the world, with over 1.2 billion users, and has become the platform for a whole range of applications, from games to e-commerce.
Jack Dorsey: co-founder of Twitter
Facebook was a hard act to follow, but Jack Dorsey managed to create a new kind of social network with Twitter -- one that was much more open. As the original chief executive officer, Dorsey saw the startup through two rounds of funding before becoming chairman of the board. Twitter is now one of the ten most-visited websites, and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet”. It is used not only as a communication tool but as a measure of public opinion on key social issues.
Mitchell Baker: chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation
As Chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker coordinates business and policy issues for the the open source Mozilla project, which aims to promote openness, innovation and participation on the Internet. She is also former Chief Executive Officer of the Mozilla Corporation, which coordinates development of the Mozilla Firefox web browser. The Mozilla Foundation is guided by 10 principles which Mozilla believes are critical for the Internet to continue to benefit the public good as well as commercial aspects of life.
Nigel Shadbolt: head of the Web and Internet Science Group
Head of the Web and Internet Science Group at the University of Southampton and Chairman of the Open Data Institute, which he co-founded with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. During the last 30 years, Shadbolt has been at the forefront of some of the most important and historic developments of the Web. He has published over 400 articles on topics ranging from computer science to cognitive psychology, and is credited with popularising the emerging field of Web Science. His research is focused on understanding how the web is evolving and changing society.
Elon Musk: co-founder of PayPal
Elon Musk is now most closely associated with electric car company Telsa Motors, but he also co-founded PayPal, the company that transformed retail by allowing money transfers to be made through the Internet. PayPal's early growth was due in large part to a successful viral growth campaign created by Musk. In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock.
Pierre Omidyar: founder of eBay
As founder and chairman of the eBay auction site, Pierre Omidyar helped to democratise the process of buying and selling online. The site allows anyone to set up an account and sell their goods to the highest bidder, or bid for items themselves. The first item sold on the site was a broken laser pointer. Omidyar was astonished that anyone would pay for the device in its broken state, but the buyer assured him he was deliberately collecting broken laser pointers. A vast range of items are now listed, bought, or sold daily on eBay, from home furnishings to cars.
Janus Friis & Niklas Zennström: founders of Skype
Founders of Skype, the voice-over-IP service that allows users to speak to friends and family around the world over the web for free. The launch of Skype in 2003 shook up the communications industry, offering people an alternative to expensive international phone calls. It also popularised video chat. Skype had 663 million registered users as of the end of 2010. It was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion.
Martha Lane Fox: co-founder of Lastminute.com
Co-founder of Lastminute.com, an online travel and gift business that generated great publicity, floating at the peak of the dot-com bubble. Its original purpose was to offer late holiday deals online but later expanded to include travel, gifts and entertainment. Martha Lane Fox has since been appointed UK Digital Champion, advising the government on how online public services delivery can help to provide better and more efficient services, as well as getting more people online. She also chairs the board of the digital skills charity, Go ON UK.
Perry Chen: founder of Kickstarter
Perry Chen is best known for co-founding the social fundraising website Kickstarter, which allows entrepreneurs to take advantage of the broad reach of the Web to find backers for their projects. Since its launch, more than 5 million people have funded more than 50,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games and food-related projects. Along with fellow co-founders, Chen was named as one of the 'The 12 Most Disruptive Names In Business' by Forbes.
Arianna Huffington: founder of the Huffington Post
Founder of online news aggregator and blog The Huffington Post, which has become one of the most influential news websites on the Internet. Its Web traffic rivals, and in some cases surpasses, that of traditional print and broadcast giants. But the Huffington Post is more than just a news website; it’s a technology platform that allows hundreds of bloggers to reach a vast audience. In 2011, Web giant AOL purchased The Huffington Post for $315 million and made Arianna Huffington president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group.
Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim
These three former PayPal employees activated the Internet domain name "YouTube.com" on Valentine's Day and started to create a video-sharing website on which users could upload, share, and view videos. In 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000. In October 2010, Hurley announced that he would be stepping down as chief executive officer of YouTube to take an advisory role, and that Salar Kamangar would take over as head of the company.