“Fogcam” – the world’s oldest continuously working webcam – has been switched off after a quarter of a century.
The webcam had been live since 1994, when it was set up by Jeff Schwartz and Dan Wong (then students at San Francisco State University) to check the weather on campus. This made Fogcam only one year younger than the coffee pot camera, widely held to be the world’s first, which went online in 1993 but was shut down in 2001.
Barring a few short periods of downtime when the camera was moved or maintained, it was online continuously for 25 years.
However, the owners thought the time had come for it to shut down, with Schwartz claiming there was nowhere safe for the camera to be sited with a view of Holloway Avenue any longer. He told the SFGate newspaper: “We felt it was time to let it go.”
Though the webcam will no longer broadcast, the website will remain live as a testament to it – and that whole era of early web development. “Our webcam is a throwback to the early days of the internet when anyone could do anything,” Schwartz added.
Fogcam is named by Wikipedia as one of the oldest websites. In fact, during the middle of 1994, the internet offered just 2,738 websites. By the end of the year it had surpassed 10,000. Today the figure stands at more than 1.7 billion – and is growing by around 160 every minute, according to Internet Live Stats.
Fogcam doesn’t just pre-date social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, but also mainstays of the web, such as Amazon, eBay, and even Google.
However, its time online has now come to an end, with Schwartz and Wong shutting off the webcam at the end of August. With Fogcam a thing of the past, probably the world’s most famous is now that which points out over the pedestrian crossing on London’s Abbey Road – made famous by The Beatles’ album and its iconic front cover. The webcam, which can be viewed on the Abbey Road studios website, allows you to see tourists frequently annoying local motorists by stopping traffic and pausing to re-create that famous scene.