Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee has been expressing his regret over the addition of certain characters to the web's URL address system.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Berners-Lee said that the use of two forward-slash characters in the URL was unnecessary, and made web site addresses needlessly long.

He explained that his intention was to separate the protocol name (such as HTTP or FTP) from the rest of the address, but as it turned out only the colon was necessary.

"Think of the amount of print that we could have saved if I had just removed the double-slash," said Berners-Lee. "But there you go. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

The comments came as part of a symposium interview Berners-Lee gave on the development of the web and its future direction. He noted the need for a " semantic" web that makes better use of data and presents it in new forms.

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