How Big is the Internet?

Much has happened in the 22 years since Sir Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea of the World Wide Web. When he and Robert Cailliau began their ‘Hypertext project’ in 1990, few would have imagined that just five years later 16 million people would be using the Internet. And even fewer would have imagined that by 2012 that figure would increase to 2.2 billion users worldwide.

The Internet has become part of everyday life for most of us, and no longer is it limited to simply keeping in touch with friends and family via email. Today, the Internet surrounds every element of our daily routine; it is a part of our work, as well as our home and social life.

More than 13.5% of the UK’s purchasing is now carried out through the Internet – thanks to clever eCommerce systems, one can have their groceries delivered to them at a time that suits them, day or night. This purchasing power is expected to increase to 23% by 2016.

Mobile Internet has grown incredibly in recent years and it is estimated that in 2012 mobile browsing accounts for 10% of all Internet usage worldwide – a 50% increase on the previous year. And with technological advances continually being made in both mobile and tablet production, this figure is set to rise at an exponentially high rate over the next few years.

Google is the world’s most popular website and it is thought that in excess 300 million people use its search facility each day. Google does not make money via this search facility; instead, it is its AdWords program which provides the company’s main income. AdWords alone brings in an estimated $165 million per day.

Advertising on the Internet is becoming increasingly more popular. £1.83 billion was spent on Internet advertising in 2009 in the UK, with this figure increasing to £2.48 billion in 2012.

Social Media is now a part of everyday life. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most popular social media websites and communicating via the instant messaging facilities offered by these sites is now more popular than speaking to someone on the phone. Social Media’s importance is such that businesses now use it as an effective and very affordable marketing tool – it is estimated that potential customers spend in excess of a quarter of their time on these sites.

Email remains the most popular form of communication and it is estimated that in excess of 90 Trillion emails are sent every year, but 78% of all emails are considered to be spam or junk mail containing potentially malicious links.

If the Internet has achieved this much influence on daily life in the last 20 years alone, then how much more will it achieve over the next twenty?

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