April 4, 1994
Ironically, 19 years to the day after Microsoft was formed, Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark create the Mosaic Communications Corporation, which will later be renamed Netscape Communications Corporation. Andreessen had developed the Mosaic web browser while working at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois.
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. Targeting Microsoft Word and Outlook, the virus did not directly cause any damage, but the sheer volume of e-mail that it generated crashed many corporate *cough* Microsoft *cough* e-mail servers.
The malware first showed up on the alt.sex usenet group and was apparently named by its creator, David L. Smith, after an exotic dancer. He was arrested a few days later on April 1st, 1999 and accused of causing $80 million worth of damages. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sends the world’s first (non-automated) tweet:
“just setting up my twttr”
Soon to be followed by the just as engrossing
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. Later in June of 2017, Verizon Purchased Yahoo! and then in April of 2018 SmugMug bought Flickr. It was reported in 2011 that Flickr hosted 6 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 is gets its start as Ward Cunningham sends an e-mail inviting people to add and edit content. Cunningham officially launches WikiWikiWeb 9 days later on March 25th.
A Wiki is a database that can be a community collaboration. Rather than calling his creation “quick-web”, Cunningham said the inspiration for the name Wiki came from the Wiki Wiki shuttle bus he learned of during a trip to Hawaii, “wiki wiki” meaning “quick” or “fast” in the Hawaiian language. 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.