Monday, December 19, 2005

One billion strong

Sometime in 2005, the world passed a significant milestone, as the one billionth Internet user signed on.

This week, Internet usability guru Jacob Neilson explores the significance of this in his latest Alertbox newsletter. Here's some interesting tidbits:
  • According to Morgan Stanley estimates, 36% of Internet users are now in Asia and 24% are in Europe. Only 23% of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers -- one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto -- were networked together
  • It took 36 years for the Internet to get its first billion users. The second billion will probably be added by 2015; most of these new users will be in Asia. The third billion will be harder, and might not be reached until 2040.
  • In 2002, NUA estimated that we had 605 million Internet users. Since then, Internet use has grown by 18% per year -- certainly not as fast as the 1990s, but still respectable.

The implications on how we use the Internet and what it is used for (like e-commerce) are sobering.

This is a good piece to whet your appetite for thinking some big thoughts about where all this is taking us.

Personally, I'm finding it more and more exciting every day. But just how significant the changes are is not necessarily that obvious in a day-to-day sense. It's only when you look at how quickly things have changed in such a short time that you start to grasp that something big is truly happening.

After all, as I am fond of telling my kids, when I went to school, computers were kept in separate rooms. I only ever used a typewriter to do term papers and when I started my first job in the newspaper business, I used a manual typewriter! And I'm not really that old!

What about you? When did you start using computers? And when did they become a part of your life that you couldn't imagine doing without? Or have you yet to cross that Rubicon?

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

Greetings from south of the border.