Watch as Google Remembers the Birth of the World's First Digital, Programmable, Electronic Computer

By Sam Gibbs on at

Google’s got a bit of a soft spot for Bletchly Park, known for being the British code-cracking institution of WWII. What you might not realise is that Bletchly was also the birthplace of the modern digital, programmable, electronic computer back in 1942 with Colossus. Google’s put together a beautiful short film looking back on the pioneering work that paved the way for what we all rely on today.

In 1944, Colossus took on the time-consuming, manual cracking of Lorenz-encrypted German high-level communications speeding the process up from weeks to just hours. Mark 2 was rolled out soon after, which provided vital information for the D-Day landings, with 10 Colossus computers running around-the-clock by the end of the war.

Tommy Flowers, the inventor of Colossus, passed in 1998, but Google managed to have a chat with some of his original team now that the Official Secrets Act has expired. Its incredible to think that this massive bank of whirring parts forms the basis of what’s sitting on your desk today. Without it, Google wouldn’t exist; hell the internet wouldn’t exist. Can you even imagine a world without the internet these days? Catch up on the history of the beloved electronic computer -- Google’s beautiful film is well worth a watch. [Google]

Thanks Darrell!