In Pictures: The 10 most important milestones in Web browser history

Okay, say you have this shiny new car. It looks great, it performs like a demon, it features all the latest safety gadgets, and it's crawling with creature comforts. Just one problem, though. The local tinkerer, clearly consumed by jealousy, comes by sometime during the night to disassemble the entire thing. Sitting in the middle of a zillion bits and pieces the next morning, you quickly realize how totally useless this marvelously complicated car has become. This is the Internet without a browser. Far more than the blank slate it appears to be, a Web browser is ridiculously sophisticated and entirely capable of morphing the code-crazed reality of the Internet into the Matrix-like façade we now can't live without.

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ARPANET, 1969 In 1969, The Beatles were recording "The End" while simultaneously making that end a reality. New cars cost $3000, man had (purportedly) landed on the moon, and futuristic gobbledygook like PCs and the Internet were the stuff of visionaries and/or lunatics.

There were no "browsers," apart from those people found lasciviously flipping through copies of National Geographic at the local library. Nevertheless, there was the genesis of a little something called ARPANET. Developed by the Department of Defense to promote networking research, ARPANET tethered together the mainframe computers of several universities and flourished. For 20 years, ARPANET was the Internet. That it was also the means to see into the pre-Web Web assures it of the lead-off position in our compendium.

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In Pictures: The 10 most important milestones in Web browser history

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