In 1978 at school the computer studies class had to send punch cards off to Manchester University for their computer to process. It was one of the few in the world! There was no internet or any electronic means of sending the data. The output of the computer programs were returned as thick wodges of paper printout – by snail mail of course. The programs themselves were probably running simple arithmetic problems.
Between 1980 and 1983 I studied Electronic Engineering at University. We used DEC PDP machines – more than one class online brought it to a halt, especially when half of them were running programs with infinite loops. No internet.
In 1990 the first website was created at CERN. I worked for Marconi. We had no internet though around this time I got my first email mailbox. It was at our Long Island subsidiary and I considered myself to be super cool.
Circa 1996 I remember taking Tom, my oldest child, then five, into the office and showing him “the internet”. So for me the internet arrived sometime in the early to mid nineties and I was probably a relatively early adopter thanks to my employer.
Earlier this year Domain Name Industry Brief published by VeriSign Inc suggested that by the first quarter 2009 there were as many as 183 million domain names. By the end of the second quarter 2009 it was estimated that the World Wide Web contained at least 25.21 billion pages on over 109.5 million websites.
Wikipedia shows the following spam statistics with the caveat that the numbers are unreliable:
• 1978 – An e-mail spam advertising a DEC product presentation is sent by Gary Thuerk to 600 addresses, which was all the users of that time’s ARPANET, though software limitations meant only slightly more than half of the intended recipients actually received it
• 2002 – 2.4 billion per day
• 2004 – 11 billion per day
• 2005 – (June) 30 billion per day
• 2006 – (June) 55 billion per day
• 2007 – (February) 90 billion per day
• 2007 – (June) 100 billion per day
Bill Gates is said to receive 4 million emails a year, mostly spam.
WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS
Source: Table data obtained from www.internetworldstats.com.
The top websites according to Alexa.com are:
- google.com (Enables users to search the Web, Usenet, and images. Features include PageRank, caching and translation of results, and an option to find similar pages. The company’s focus is developing search technology.)
- facebook.com (A social utility that connects people, to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos)
- yahoo.com (Personalized content and search options. Chatrooms, free e-mail, clubs, and pager)
- youtube.com (YouTube is a way to get your videos to the people who matter to you. Upload, tag and share your videos worldwide!)
- live.com (Search engine from Microsoft)
- wikipedia.org (An online collaborative encyclopedia)
- blogger.com (Free, automated weblog publishing tool that sends updates to a site via FTP)
- baidu.com (Music search engine and free MP3 & video streaming for all kind of topics)
- msn.com (Dialup access and content provider)
- Yahoo!カテゴリ (Yahoo Japan)
- trefor.net (World’s leading communications blog (only joking 🙂 )
I am a regular user of Google, Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube. I am clearly not entirely with it because I’ve never heard of baidu.com!
Facebook publishes its user stats online. You should check them out. They have 350 million active users half of whom log on every day. With only 25% of the world with internet access there is still a long way to grow for the likes of Facebook and that’s before they have saturated their existing Serviceable Available Market.
I use email. I have three email addresses – timico, trefor.net and google. I am however increasingly using other means of communications – Instant Messaging is the norm between teams at work. When you send someone an IM you generally get a real time (ish) response. You know they are online before sending. Socially mostly I use Facebook to communicate, either by writing on someone’s wall, sending a Direct Message or via IM though the latter is hit and miss because people tend to dip in and out of Facebook and are therefore not particularly online for any length of time. Although I have an account I am not yet a regular Google Wave user.
I use twitter as a broadcast marketing tool and not as a personal social networking tool. For me it is not going to replace Facebook. Also I don’t get spammed on Facebook 🙂
Almost 20% of Facebook’s active users also access the site via a mobile device. The O2 data network in London failed to cope with demand in the run up to Christmas. They are adding more capacity. They will need to because the use of the internet from mobile devices is probably going to outpace the growth in fixed internet access which in itself is racing forward (50% year on year growth in usage per user at Timico). Much of the growth in mobile network revenue is coming from data.
So where are my predictions for 2010 and beyond? I have no idea. If bankers on exorbitant salaries can’t get it right what hope us mere mortals that drive around in N reg Peugeot 406s (other N reg cars are available though decreasingly so). Internet usage is going to continue to grow massively and mobile internet will play an increasingly important part. Costs will come down, speeds will go up and by the end of the decade the top ten site rankings will have changed beyond all recognition. Hopefully I won’t be driving the same car!
There you go. Let’s review this on New Years Eve 2019 and see if I was right.