Explore the web as it was in 1990 thanks to this CERN project

If you’ve found yourself cursing your Wi-Fi connection today, here’s a nice little reminder from CERN that you’ve really never had it so good.

Yes, a group of designers and developers at CERN have rebuilt the original WorldWideWeb browser for you to play with, in honour of its 30th birthday.

Of course you’ll have to suspend your disbelief while you open your window to 1990 in a 2019 web browser, but once you’re there you’ll appreciate that the web today – for all its distracting ads and resource-heavy design – ain’t so bad.  

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“Hello, World”, the introductory page states. “In December 1990, an application called WorldWideWeb was developed on a NeXT machine at The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (known as CERN) just outside of Geneva. This program – WorldWideWeb — is the antecedent of most of what we consider or know of as ‘the web’ today.”

It takes a little getting used to. Actually opening a page in the first place is something of a trial-and-error experience. To save you time, press ‘Document’, then ‘Open from full document reference’, type the URL of your choice and ten click ‘Open’.

Once you’re there, prepare for a very basic experience without pictures, and where links require a double-click to open. Oh, and tabbed browsing won’t be around for another 12 years, so enjoy that window clutter.

When it was first shared by The Web Foundation earlier this week, many users found that it wasn’t working at all – probably thanks to a sheer volume of people trying to access it. Not a huge problem in 1990, but as many Twitter wags pointed out, the results are roughly the same:

What’s your earliest internet memory? Let us know on Twitter (not MySpace). We’re @TrustedReviews.