What's the difference between the web now and in the 90s?

[Note: This question comes from Quora]


Basically, nothing. The basic technology and framework has barely changed. Which is a good thing.

1) There were HTML pages

2) They were all fairly slow to load (just like today because of the 85 plug-ins and widgets and apps on each page)

3) The most popular usage was messaging (either through emails or IMs or group messaging through newsgroups)

4) There were ads

5) The most popular site was a directory site like Yahoo (just like today although maybe today its #2 or #3

6) There were search engines that were barely adequate (just like today)

7) There were social networks (Tripod, Geocities, even usenet can be considered a social network)

8) There were a lot of dumb acqusitions and IPOs that made people a lot of money and now they are called geniuses even though the businesses are totally out of business.

9) The most popular browser was Netscape, which at its core is the same Firefox, IE, and Chrome

10) the news is the same: news saying “bubble” in 1995. news saying “bubble” now despite $200 billion in profits generated by Internet companies between now and then.

11) there were blogs, only then people would say “go to my web page”.

12) there were games. This morning I played on the Internet Chess Club. In every morning of 1993 I played on the Internet Chess Club.

I can’t really say there are any differences between now and the 90s other than:


– Computers are different. They are now called “tablets” or “phones”. But if I add up all the costs of my computing and connectivity it’s about the same (although per “unit of computing” its certainly cheaper.)

– There are subtle differences in HTML but nothing that can be considered rocket science. Javascript, HTML5, basically similar. PHP/MySQL, basically similar to Perl/SQL. Rocket science is when people mine asteroids. Not a new tweak in HTML.