A Web year has been said to be the length of time it takes for Internet technology to evolve as much as technology in another environment might evolve in a calendar year. The term was coined at a time when the Internet and Web technology and culture were progressing at a phenomenal rate. The term is sometimes attributed to Lou Gerstner, then head of IBM. According to Larry Kunz, then the editor of IBM's Network Connection, the idea of a Web year was introduced by an unnamed female colleague in 1996.
In a 1996 interview in the WWW Journal, Tim Berners-Lee, chief inventor of the Web technologies, said: "What is a Web year now, about three months? And when people can browse around, discover new things, and download them fast, when we all have agents - then Web years could slip by before human beings can notice." When the interviewer suggested that such a pace would "take a physical toll" on people who work on the Web, Berners-Lee agreed that was true, but added that they would also "be able to live for three or four hundred Web years, which will be very exciting."