20 Year Usenet Timeline / History of pre-internet computer communications


Google has fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups, which now offers access to more than 800 million messages dating back to 1981. This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account.

For those who don't know, Usenet (also known as NNTP, or Newsgroups) was one of the first forms of mass communication between computers. It predates both the internet and the WWW. It was predated only by the BBS (Bulletin board systems) of the early 80s, which were by no means a form of mass communication. Almost every forum concept and design is based upon the architecture of Usenet.

Google has cataloged a list of notable posts to various news groups. These posts catalog the pre-internet activities of networked-computers. There's some pretty interesting posts in this list:
  • (1981) First mention of Microsoft
  • (1981) TCP/IP Digest #1 (What the internet is built upon.)
  • (1981) First review of the IBM-PC
  • (1982) First thread about AIDS
  • (1983) First mention of Microsoft Windows
  • (1986) First thread about the Chernobyl meltdown
  • (1988) First mention of the term 'search engine'
  • (1989) Brad Templeton announces ClariNet - the first "dot com"
  • (1989) First mention of AOL
  • (1991) Linus Torvalds' Linux announcement
  • (1992) First post from an AOL account