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Google’s 15th birthday was last month – First Internet celebrate 15 years on top

Tom Pepper

Google’s 15th birthday was last month – First Internet celebrate 15 years on top

Last month may have been Google’s 15th birthday, but this month it’s First Internet’s own 15th anniversary, marking a decade and a half at the forefront of the online marketing industry in the north-west.

So what has changed in the 15 years since First Internet came into being?

First Internet Origins

First Internet Marketing was conceived by current managing director Stephen Alexander back in 1998, using a Pentium P90 and a dialup internet connection that took his quarterly phone bill to around £1,000.

Back then, the P90 cost £1,700 – enough to buy a high-spec gaming PC or top-end laptop today – but you wouldn’t think so, if you look at its specifications.

• CPU: In 1998, the P90 ran at 60MHz; in 2013, the Intel Core i7 3970X runs at 3GHz, 50 times the speed.
• RAM: In 1998, 256MB was typical; in 2013, you can expect 8GB, 32 times as much capacity.
• HDD: In 1998, the P90 had a 256MB hard drive; in 2013, expect 2TB, a massive 8000 times as much.

And it’s not just the hardware; faster internet speeds and the consumerisation of broadband have allowed websites to become infinitely more sophisticated than back in 1998.

Fifteen years ago, sites were mainly static pages with bright blue, underlined hyperlinks and 256- colour GIF images.

Now websites can handle everything from e-commerce to online banking, and some web-based cloud computing systems even offer word processing and other program-like features via a web page.

The Near Future

If the past 15 years have seen rapid change, then the pace is only likely to accelerate, given the extremely complex nature of modern-day information design and architecture.

Already we are seeing PCs fall by the wayside in many people’s homes, in favour not only of laptops, but of new categories of device like smartphones and tablets.

Look back to 1998 and imagine being shown a handheld, touchscreen device that could access the internet with no direct cable connection, and you would probably have thought it was witchcraft.

But the current generation will take such devices for granted, and the iPad has become akin to a babysitter in many households with young children.

And just as 15 years ago, the inception of Google led to unavoidable, industry-wide transformation for webmasters, in the coming decade it will be hardware, not software, that drives change.

Rachel, our account handler celebrating.

First Responders

As mentioned above, the web is no longer a repository of static text with the classic ‘blue links’ scattered throughout it.

Modern websites are dynamic, both in terms of their content – which can of course include full-colour photographic images and full-motion video – and their layout, which can be adjusted easily using Cascading Style Sheets.

But increasingly, they must also be responsive, adapting to the type – and significantly, the size – of device on which they are displayed.

Even in the present day, website design and development has become dynamic and content-centric, requiring flexible content that suits the browser habits of each individual site visitor.

This accelerating trend will continue to shape the web in the years to come, and some actions, like the ‘hover’ state, may vanish completely as they become less meaningful for touchscreen platforms.

First Internet are looking ahead, while drawing on our experiences over the past 15 years, to ensure we remain at the top of the north-west’s web marketing industry.

That means websites designed to look great on any screen, of any size and resolution, with navigation and multimedia that works, and elegant platform-dependent response.

With all of this in mind, we’re certain the next 15 years are looking bright, and we’re looking forward to taking our customers along for the ride.

Google’s 15th birthday…

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