April 1, 2004
The now ubiquitous Gmail service is launched as an invitation-only beta service. At first met with skepticism due to it being launched on April Fool’s Day, the ease of use and speed that Gmail offered for a web-based e-mail service quickly won converts. The fact that Gmail was invitiation-only for a long time helped fueled a mystique that those who had a Gmail address were hip and uber-cool. Those of us who are actually hip and uber-cool didn’t mind, of course, as those types of things don’t bother hip and uber-cool people.
March 26, 1999
The first e-mail virus to cause widespread damage and one of the fastest spreading viruses in history, Melissa was released into the wild on an early Friday morning and within three days would infect between 100,000 and 250,000 computers around the world. While the virus did not directly cause any damage, the sheer volume of e-mail that it generated crashed many corporate *cough* Microsoft *cough* e-mail servers.
March 21, 2006
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sends the world’s first (non-automated) tweet:
A note to future entrepreneurs: when doing the “first” of anything, it may be for posterity so try to be interesting. Kthnx.
March 20, 2005
Yahoo acquires the company Ludicorp along with its popular photo-sharing site Flickr. It is reported that Flickr currently hosts more than 5 billion photos.
March 19, 1986
The domains ibm.com and sun.com come online. These domains are considered the 11th and 12th oldest domains in history.
March 16, 1995
The worlds first Wiki, WikiWikiWeb was created as Ward Cunningham invites people to add and edit content. A Wiki is a database that can be a community collaboration. Cunningham has said the inspiration for the name Wiki came from the Wiki Wiki Shuttle bus he learned of during a trip to Hawaii. Six years later, Wikipedia is launched, although Cunningham has no official involvement.
March 15, 1985
The first Internet domain symbolics.com is registered by Symbolics, a Massachusetts computer company.
March 12, 2008
The video streaming service Hulu is launched to the public. Hulu has since become a focal point for the ongoing development of “streaming TV” along with the agonizing by TV networks and movie studios. It also revealed Alec Baldwin to be an alien, which didn’t surprise anybody.
March 12, 1989
Tim Berners-Lee submits a proposal to CERN for developing a new way of linking and sharing information over the Internet. It was the first time Berners-Lee proposed a system that would ultimately become the World Wide Web. However, this proposal was a relatively vague request to research the details and feasibility of such a system. He would later submit a proposal on November 12, 1990 that much more directly detailed the actual implementation of the World Wide Web. So while some people consider today the birthday of the World Wide Web, I would put forth November 12, 1990 as a more accurate date.
March 9, 1999
United States Vice President Al Gore gives an interview on CNN’s Late Edition in which he states, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.” This is the infamous statement which will be widely misquoted as “I invented the Internet.”