Here's What The First Blog, Smartphone, and Web Browser Looked Like


Someone had to send the first email. Someone had to create the first computer virus. And obviously, someone had to register the first internet domain.

It’s only because of so many technical visionaries that we have the Internet as we know it today.

Here are some of the humble first steps that got us here.

First mobile phone with Internet access: Nokia 9000 Communicator

Available in Finland in 1996, the Nokia 9000 Communicator was almost non-viable due to extremely high costs to the service providers.

In 1999, a much more practical Internet device called the i-Mode launched in Japan, but it wasn't the first.

First email: nonsense letters

Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in late 1972 between two computers sitting right next to each other. He doesn't remember what it said, but he speculates that it was just 'QWERTYUIOP.'

The first blog: Justin's Links To The Underground

Justin Hall is widely credited with starting the first blog in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College. It's still active today, with a full archive.

First modem: Bell 101

The Bell 101 modem was the first commercial device for sending and receiving Internet data over regular telephone lines. It came out in 1959.

First picture: Les Horribles Cernettes

We promise we're not kidding -- this is the first picture to appear on the World Wide Web in 1992.

Les Horribles Cernettes are a doo-wop style band made up of employees at the European organisation for Nuclear Reseach, and their website says they sing about 'colliders, quarks, microwaves, antiprotons and Internet.'

First webserver: Tim Berners-Lee's NeXTcube

The World Wide Web used to exist entirely on this one machine, Tim Berners-Lee's NeXTcube operating out of Geneva, Switzerland in 1990. It's currently on display at Microcosm, a Swiss museum.

The torn sticker on the computer reads, 'This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER IT DOWN!'

First major web browser: Mosaic

Technically, Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for creating the first web browser while he was tinkering away to build the World Wide Web, but the first accessible browser to gain popularity was Mosaic.

Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina created Mosaic while they were students at the University of Illinois. It later became Netscape Navigator, which was obviously a huge success.

The first emoticon: :-)

Scott Fahlman is credited with creating the first emoticon in the early 1980s. It's obviously taken hold and is now used across a number of mediums like email, internet chat, and texting.

The first virus: Creeper

Creeper was a non-malicious virus that appeared in 1971. It simply displayed a message stating, 'I'm Creeper: Catch me if you can.' Then it copied itself to computers around the network.

The first search engine: Archie

A play on the word 'archive,' Archie was created by students at McGill University in Montreal in 1990.

The first YouTube video: Me At The Zoo

First post on Wikipedia: atonality

Wikipedia's precursor was 'Nupedia,' and a German man named Christoph Hust kicked it off when he wrote an article on 'atonality.'

Jack Dorsey, the man himself, sent the first tweet on March 21, 2006. It said, 'just setting up my twttr.'

First book sold on Amazon: Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies

When someone bought Douglas Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought from a brand-new, Jeff Bezos himself mailed it to the buyer from the local post office.

First internet game: MUD

Standing for Multi-User Dungeon, MUDs are text-based fantasy games played with real people that came to popularity as the fledgling Internet gained momentum.

First webcam: XCoffee

Dr. Quentin Stafford-Fraser of Cambridge University set up the first webcam in 1991 as a means to see how much coffee was left in the university's computer lab coffee pot before heading there.

It remained active for 10 years, shutting down in 2001 only when the computer lab moved to a new building.

First registered domain name:

It was registered on March 15, 1985, by a defunct computer company called Symbolics.

First podcast: Scripting News

Dave Winer tacked on audio abilities to his RSS code, and in doing so, invented podcasting. On January 11, 2001, he embedded a Grateful Dead song inside an entry on his blog, Scripting News.

First spammer: Gary Thuerk

A man named Gary Thuerk earned the honour/hatred of being the first spammer when he sent unsolicited messages to 393 people on May 3, 1978. The email was designed to entice people to buy a new computer.

Here we are 33 years later and nothing has changed.

First banner ad: AT&T

AT&T placed the first banner ad on Wired's web-only magazine 'Hotwired' in October 1994.

Who knows how many clicks it got at the time with that mysterious approach? We'll bet quite a few.

Now Mozilla is building an Internet operating system.

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at