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Wednesday, May 26, 2010
by PopMatters Staff
by n+1
n+1 (23 April 2010)

“Ninety years later, we are living through a different revolution. Like the Russian one, it will seem in retrospect—may already seem—like a smooth inexorable process, but was in fact a series of discrete advances: First, the creation of easy-to-use web interfaces (the first recognizable browser, Mosaic, launched in 1993) and blogging platforms (Moveable Type, 1999), which enabled non-specialists to navigate and publish on the web. Second, the improvement of search technology, so that search spam could be weeded out and relevant results delivered (the most radical advance in this field was made by a Stanford graduate student named Larry Page in 1998; his PageRank algorithm would also prove the eventual financial salvation of the internet, via search-based advertising). Third, the digital integration of various media other than text (through, first, their easy digitization, and then the increase in bandwidth that allowed their continuous broadcast), including music, photos, and videos, so that more and more things could be placed online. Fourth, most recently, the spread of the internet to wireless and handheld technology, which has freed the web and its user from the shackles of the deskbound networked computer.”


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