Page last updated at 23:35 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Web founder looks to big changes

Tim Berners-Lee - 13/3/2009
Mobile phone Web access will benefit the developing world, says Sir Tim

The founder of the World Wide Web says the pace of innovation on the web is increasing all the time.

Marking the 20th anniversary of his proposal to create the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said "new changes are going to rock the world even more".

The future of the web lies in mobile phones, he said at the research centre in Switzerland where he was working when he proposed the web.

He also warned of user profiling on the internet and the risks of "snooping".

Sir Tim was working at the Cern nuclear research centre, near Geneva, in March 1989 when he proposed to his colleagues a hypertext database with text links that would help scientists around the world share information quickly.

His supervisor described the proposal as "vague, but exciting" and the next year Sir Tim wrote the software that allowed users access to information on the already-existing internet.

In developing countries it's going to be exciting because [mobile phones are] the only way that a lot of people will actually get to see the internet at all
Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Speaking to the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones, Sir Tim credited scientists around the world with helping to build the web.

"Creative people all over the planet started to get involved and I'd get these random e-mails from people in different fields and different countries who decided the web would be a good idea if everybody did it, so they would do it."

'Tip of iceberg'

As director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that guides the web's development, Sir Tim said much more was to come.

"The web is not all done, it's just the tip of the iceberg... I'm convinced that the new changes are going to rock the world even more," he said at the 20th anniversary celebrations at Cern.

Mobile phones would form a key part of the web's future, he said.

"In developing countries it's going to be exciting because that is the only way that a lot of people will actually get to see the internet at all."

But he also sounded a warning about the emergence of systems that can automatically track a web user's habits and create a detailed profile of the person.

"That sort of snooping is really important to avoid," he said.

Google has become the latest firm to launch a system to send advertisements to web users based on their online activities.

Print Sponsor

Web founder's 'snooping' warning
11 Mar 09 |  Politics
Google serves up behavioural ads
11 Mar 09 |  Technology
Warning sounded on web's future
15 Sep 08 |  Technology
Call for web to stay open for all
07 Jul 08 |  Technology
The World Wide Web turns 15 (again)
30 Apr 08 |  Technology

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific