Tuesday, 30 June 2020

minitel

Debuting in Saint-Malo on this day in 1980—ceremoniously decommissioned on the anniversary of its going on-line in 2012, the French videotext service called Médium interactif par numérisation d’information téléphonique was the most successful (see also here, here and here) prior to the introduction of the World Wide Web that eventually displaced it. Nation-wide by 1982, users could search telephone directories, chat, send and receive email, consult maps, conduct stock research, check bank accounts and make train and airline reservations—and naturally access pornography. At its apex around 1999, there were over twenty-five million users out of a population of sixty million with over nine million terminals (note the AZERTY keyboard layout) in circulation.