Robert Topolski, chief technologist of the Open Technology Initiativesuggests that but for a quirk of history we might all be using Gopher instead of Tim Berners-Lee‘s World Wide Web:
By the 1990s, there was just about enough power to allow access to text and image-based files via the internet, and Tim Berners-Lee‘s World Wide Web was born.
But network administrators at the time preferred a streamlined text-only internet service, says Topolski, using something called the Gopher protocol.
He suggested that if those administrators had had access to data filtering technology, like that becoming popular with companies and governments today, they would have used it to exclude Berners-Lee’s invention, and kill off the World Wide Web.
This is one of those awesome videos that really makes the internet amazing. Clay Shirky, author of ‘Here Comes Everybody’, talks at the Web 2.0 Conference earlier this month in the video above. You can also read a text version on his website. It’s been going around most of the blogs for good reason – it’s a brilliant analysis of how until recently we’ve been denying the free time modern life gives us with television and how the internet is beginning to use that untapped free time and mental creativity.