Is Today the Internet's 40th Birthday?

"When it launched it was a Facebook replacement for college. The day it became a genuine platform was when they opened it up," said Harvard's Weinberger.

2006 The one millionth article is published on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It launched in 2001 and quickly became the reference site of choice for Internet users. By contrast, Weinberger said that Britannica contains 65,000 articles.

2007 Apple launches the iPhone. On June 29, Apple's hotly-anticipated smart phone went on sale, making wireless Internet access accessible to millions more. Just 74 days after its introduction, Apple sold the 1 millionth iPhone. Now, more than 40 million users access the Internet from iPhone and iPod touch models, in addition to millions of others who go online with BlackBerries and other mobile devices.

2008 ComScore, an online analytics firm, reports that the global internet audience (aged 15 and older from home and work computers) surpassed 1 billion visitors in December 2008. The company reported that China topped the list of the most connected countries, with 179.7 million users. The United States came in at second with 163.3 million users.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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