Happy Birthday, World Wide Web

The World Wide Web, which changed forever the way people communicate, turns 20 on Dec. 25.

Christmas Day marks the 20th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

It was on Dec. 25, 1990, that Timothy Berners-Lee, with the help of computer scientist Robert Cailliau, published the first website. The occasion marked the first successful communication between a web browser and server via the internet.

Little did we know that this single act would change forever the way people communicate. It would also spawn a new way of life, with instant access to friends, family, co-workers and strangers, and placed instant access at our fingertips. Connectivity to work, home, information, online shopping, voting and even dating would be available at our fingertips.

Today, some 20 per cent of the world depends on the World Wide Web. And according to, a site that tracks the daily size of the web, the Indexed Web contained at least 13.99 billion pages as of Dec. 24.

In this interview, Barbara van Schewick, a Stanford Law School professor, talks about her new book, Internet Architecture and Innovation. In it, she explains why the internet has been effective in fostering ideas, and why online innovation is at risk as the internet's architecture changes.