A Look Back into the Internet in 1998

'20' candles on a cake

20 years ago, Microsoft was the biggest company in the world, JK Rowling released Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Google was born. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Webselect, and to celebrate we're taking a look back into the internet in 1998 to see how much things have changed.

The past 20 years have brought us many technological advances, one of those being the internet. After its launch in 1991, the internet has become more than just an extensive resource, it is now a way to stay in contact with friends and family, a way to keep up to date with the world, a source of entertainment, and the backbone for a number of businesses. According to eMarketer, there were 3.46 billion internet users in 2017, and this number will only increase as time goes on. Back in 1998, however, things were very different. In the 90's, there weren't many internet users. In fact in 1998, only 9% of households had access to the internet, a shocking statistic compared to the 90% of households in 2017. With such limited internet access in households, it meant that only 41% of adults went online in 1998, and this would've had to have been done at work, in a public library or even in an internet café.

So why was this?

By 1998, the internet had only existed for 7 years, meaning it was very new and people didn't trust it - probably because they didn’t really understand it. As a result, 57% of non-internet users didn't feel as though they were missing out by not using the internet. Another reason for the limited usage could be the negative stereotype associated with it at the time, and although it pains us to say it, the internet wasn't considered 'cool'.

But what else?

We also need to remember that back in 1998 the internet wasn't quite as advanced as it is now. For one, Wi-Fi didn't exist (WE KNOW). Instead, dial-up broadband had to suffice - and you had to hope with all your might that no-one called your house phone!

Dial-up was painfully slow - you could open up a webpage, leave your desk, make several cups of tea, and maybe go for a walk as you waited for one image to load, bit…by bit…by bit - excruciating.

Whilst we don’t miss that, we thought we'd take a minute to reminisce over the sound dial-up made when connecting…

Ah, memories

Search engines were in their early days too, they ran slower and their algorithms were very different to how they are today, meaning it was much easier to get your website to list at the top of them, all it took was a bit of keyword cramming. It also helped that there weren't as many websites at that time either - less websites meant less competition.

For further reminiscing purposes, here's what Google and Yahoo looked like back in the 90's…

Weird, right?

Fewer websites meant fewer ways to communicate. Social media didn't exist in the way it does today, so if people wanted to communicate with their friends, they had to use chatting sites and email. Less websites also meant no gaming or streaming sites, two very popular forms of entertainment provided by the internet today.

20 years is a long time, and the internet has changed so much since the 90's. Fortunately, Webselect is still here to provide some consistency for you!

So, a belated Happy New Year from the Webselect team - we're looking forward to all the projects 2018 will bring.

happy new year