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The History of the Internet
Internet Timeline 1998

Google / PayPal / NetFlix / eBook Readers / Postage

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Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, brought Google to life in September 1998, answering roughly 10,000 search queries a day. By 1999 it was handling 500,000 queries per day, and by 2000 it was up to 100 million queries a day. Currently Google indexes over 4.28 billion web pages and provides over 250 million search results per day.

PayPal, founded in December 1998 by Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, is an Internet business which allows the transfer of money between email users and merchants, avoiding traditional paper methods such as checks/cheques and money orders. PayPal also performs payment processing for e-commerce vendors, auction sites, and other corporate users, for which they charge a fee. Paypal quickly became the most common method of paying for eBay auctions.

Netflix, the first to offer online movie rentals, started offering pay-per-rental movies online at $4 per rental plus $2 in postage. It wasn't until 1999 that they introduced the monthly subscription concept with no due dates, late fees, shipping or handling fees.

eBook Readers
The first eBook readers or eReaders were also released in 1998. One was called Rocket eBook, with a 4.5 x 3 inch two color B/W touch screen, which could hold up to 4000 pages (about 10 books). The other was called SoftBook, with a 6 × 8 inch grayscale touch screen, which could hold 1500 pages (about 4 books).

Electronic postal stamps became a reality, with the U.S. Postal Service allowing stamps to be purchased and downloaded for printing from the Web.