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Lost & Found: The Internet’s Future [Video]

We take the Internet for granted now. It’s everywhere, from our pockets to our home thermostats. Your average smartphone carries more computing power than the computers that guided our astronauts to the moon. And you never have to feel the frustration of not being able to remember the name of that song you really liked when you were 13. You can just whip out your iPhone and ask almighty Google.

This was not always the case.

As with all technology, the Internet evolved into what it is now from very humble beginnings. Internet service providers were just beginning to spring up, and no one had yet uttered the words “net neutrality.” It was the 1990s and early 2000s, and everything with new technology and websites meant elaborate launch parties and campaigns.

America Online became one of the biggest companies to start piping Photoshopped JPEGs of Gillian Anderson, conspiracy theories and poorly-written information on dinosaurs into people’s homes.

If you were around during this time, you may remember those damn AOL CDs that seemed to be everywhere. You couldn’t buy groceries or check your mail without being bombarded with those free discs. People were using them for everything from coasters to guitar picks.

History seems to imply, through AOL’s giant downfall, that the company may have been better off spending its marketing budget on improving its service.

If you’ve never seen what the Internet looked like back in its infancy, just take a look at the video below. It’s a sort of infomercial for the Internet. It’s not AOL specifically, but it’s sure close. Also, this video is funny, because teenagers.

Next: A Day in the Life of the Internet

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