Amazon used to be a large river in South America - but that was before the world wide web. This month the web is 15 years old and in that short time it has revolutionised the way we live, from shopping to booking flights, writing blogs to listening to music. Here, the Observer's Net specialist charts the web's remarkable early life and we tell the story of the 15 most influential websites to date.
Johannes Gutenberg took the idea of printing by moveable type and turned it into a publishing system. In doing so he changed the world. But he did not live to see the extent of the revolution he had brought about. If you'd told him in 1468 - the year he died - that the Bible he had published in 1455 would undermine the authority of the Catholic church, power the Renaissance and the Reformation, enable the Enlightenment and the rise of modern science, create new social classes and even change our concept of childhood, he would have looked at you blankly.
But there lives among us today a man who has done something similar, and survived to see the fruits of his work. He is Tim Berners-Lee, and he conceived a system for turning the internet into a publishing medium. Just over 15 years ago - on 6 August 1991, to be precise - he released the code for his invention on to the internet. He called it the World Wide Web, and had the inspired idea that it should be free so that anyone could use it.Read more at The Observer