internet historyIt’s hard to believe there was a time when we couldn’t reach for our smartphones and get the answer to any question within a few seconds via the internet by simply typing a few keywords. The internet moved beyond being a luxury item years ago. Today, it’s a critical part of our lives and many people couldn’t live without it.

For people under the age of 20, they can’t remember a time when the internet didn’t exist. They’ll never know the frustration of going to the public library to get the “W” encyclopedia for your report on George Washington only to realize someone else is already using it (remember, you couldn’t check out encyclopedias). You waited patiently with your pocket full of dimes so you could finally copy the pages you needed and take them home with you rather than spending your entire day at the library.

How quickly things change.

WhoIsHostingThis? put together an infographic (shown below) that traces the internet from 1969 to today and in a blog post, explained just how much things have changed:

“In just one minute on an average day, 700 videos, 28,000 Tumblr posts, 100,000 tweets and more than 34,000 Facebook “likes” hit the ‘net, and with total Internet traffic expected to quadruple by 2014, our “need for speed” is only likely to grow.”

According to the infographic, the first work on the internet began back in 1969 as part of a United States military funded research project. It wasn’t actually called “the internet” until 1984 when just 1,000 hosts at university and corporate labs successfully linked, but by 1998, 50 million people were using the internet, which was supported by 25 million servers. It took another 11 years for the internet to reach 1 billion users in 2009, but just three years later in 2012, the global internet population topped 2.1 billion people. Today, more than 2.7 billion people are using the internet around the world, which equates to 47% of the world’s population.

A few more amazing statistics from the infographic include:

  • The number of websites grew from 130 in 1993 to 634 million in 2012.
  • The number of Google search queries grew from 9,800 per day (3.6 million per year) in 1998 to 3 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches annually in 2012.
  • In 2001, 31 million emails were sent per day. Today, 297 billion emails are sent per day (204 million per second).
  • In 2004, Facebook launched with just a small number of users. Today, Facebook has over 1 billion users around the world.

Of course, mobile devices have impacted many of these statistics (in 2012, 55% of Americans used their mobile devices to access the internet), and the infographic includes a timeline about the history of mobile, too. Take a look and you’ll see that the first handheld mobile phone was introduced by Motorola in 1973. Today, there are over 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions.

You can see the full infographic below.

The Internet: Then and Now [Infographic] by Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

One thing is for certain, you can’t stop the progress of technology, which is moving faster than ever. Your content needs to be both web- and mobile-friendly.

Image: CJLUC