In Pictures: The 10 most important milestones in Web browser history

Okay, say you have this shiny new car. It looks great, it performs like a demon, it features all the latest safety gadgets, and it's crawling with creature comforts. Just one problem, though. The local tinkerer, clearly consumed by jealousy, comes by sometime during the night to disassemble the entire thing. Sitting in the middle of a zillion bits and pieces the next morning, you quickly realize how totally useless this marvelously complicated car has become. This is the Internet without a browser. Far more than the blank slate it appears to be, a Web browser is ridiculously sophisticated and entirely capable of morphing the code-crazed reality of the Internet into the Matrix-like façade we now can't live without.

WorldWideWeb (a.k.a The Nexus), 1991 Now comparatively slow and sluggish two decades after its launch, ARPANET was dead by 1990. In its place stood newer, fresher networking technologies and concepts, including something out of Switzerland that would not only stand the test of time but forever alter our culture. It was called the World Wide Web, and it was "invented" in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at the Swiss-based physics research facility CERN.

Two years later, the World Wide Web had its first browser, the WorldWideWeb (note the lack of spaces). Also a Berners-Lee creation, the WorldWideWeb was the first readily available eye into the circa-1991 online world—a world that consisted primarily of CERN-centric information and zero porn sites.

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