Twenty years ago today, somebody flipped a switch and opened the floodgates. On April 30, 1995, the last federally funded portion of the Internet shut down, turning it into a free-enterprise operation.
It was just one major breakthrough of 1995, the year the Internet achieved lift-off. Amazon, eBay, craigslist, and Match.com all went live that year, while Microsoft rolled out its first Internet Explorer browser. In 1995, about 16 million people were online, less than half a percent of the human race. Just five years later, 5 percent of the world had logged on. Today, it’s 3 billion of us — 40 percent of the planet. Probably no other technology has caught on so fast, built so many new businesses, or demolished so many old ones.More →