Big, large, grand, huge – Words fail to adequately capture the size of the Internet. Let’s give it a try with numbers. Space is another mind-bogglingly large subject. Let’s see if numbers help.
There are about 300 billion stars in our Galaxy and approximately 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. These numbers push the mind’s limits and rattle the senses. The same can be expected of the internet.
There are roughly 3.1 billion users and almost a billion websites. Today, people sent 143 billion emails, wrote 2.5 million blog posts, and searched on Google 2.8 billion times. Think about that for a couple seconds.
Click the animation to open the full version (via PennyStocksLab).
This graphic does a good job of illustrating how quickly we create data and the sheer size of internet usage. After visiting the full version at PennyStocksLab’s site, check out a different representation at Live Internet Stats to get your mind blown further.
PennyStocks Lab shows how much data has been created, with the counters starting at the time of loading the page. Conversely, the Live Internet Stats site shows cumulative statistics for the number of users, number of websites, and daily counters for other metrics. The continuous counters show you where we are today and how quickly it is changing.
Data scientists and IT professionals alike understand that there is a tsunami of data heading our way. At a recent IBM Watson conference, Dr.John Kelly III explained that we need new techniques to make sense of the data being created. The conference video is about an hour and a half long and it covers a lot of interesting ground, so it’s worth the watch. Part of IBM’s hope for Watson is that AI will help us sort through the mountains of data we create.
Additionally, the ability of algorithms to consider various types of meaning is quite significant. During the conference, many topics were covered, ranging from improving access to social services to improving medical screening accuracy. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished through the intelligent use of technology.
On the other hand, not all use of technology is useful and intelligent. I especially feel this way when I receive yet another invitation to Candy Crush, Farmville or whatever the game is called where you create a virtual fish tank. The point is that technology is a tool and it’s up to us to use our time and tools to create a better world. That being said, it’s approaching the end of the day (4 p.m. central time) and people tweeted over half a billion times, viewed 6 billion YouTube videos, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Live Internet
This dashboard packs a lot of data on one page. It boils down the day’s online activity into simple categories and numbers. Get today’s number for:
- Carbon Dioxide emissions, in tons
- Megawatt hours used
- Traffic measured in Gigabytes
- Tablets, smartphones, and computers sold
- Active Users for Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter
- Posts made on Tumblr
- Photos uploaded on Instagram
- Hacked Websites
- Skype calls made
One Second Please
Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and take stock of what’s important in life. Ever heard of counting to ten? When our emotions become too much to handle, those ten seconds can be the difference between a well-crafted response and an embarrassing outburst. Well, in a tenth of that time, a heck of a lot happened. Here is what happens in just one second.
- 9,279 Tweets
- 2,145 Instagram Photos Uploaded
- 1,961 Tumblr Posts
- 1,761 Skype Calls Placed
- 27,669 Gigabytes of Internet Traffic
- 49,005 Google Searches
- 101,529 YouTube Videos Streamed
- 2,398,183 Emails (mostly spam – about 75%)
The Tsunami of Data is Growing
If we measure time in information created, time is indeed speeding up. More data is being created every day, and no one can keep up. This trend has often frustrated people into nervous breakdowns and anxiety over time poverty. It’s a better time than ever to apply Sturgeon’s law – 90% of everything is crap.
Now more than ever people want brevity, clarity, and authority. This psychological phenomenon opens up opportunities for great web developers, data scientists, content creators, writers, and most of all dreamers. We need to imagine new ways of thinking about data and what we can do with it. I encourage you to gaze out on this expanding world with curiosity and an eagerness to create.
The Trends Section May Surprise You
According to The International Telecommunications Union, there were 400 million Internet users in 2000, with growth estimated to 3.2 Billion in 2015. Check out their infographic and facts/figures report. Notice the rate of growth is about 300% in developed countries while it’s closer to 2100% growth in developing countries. Access to the internet brings knowledge, opportunity, funding, and endless other benefits.
Google and Facebook want to give this to everyone on earth. Google has plans for air balloons, and Facebook is making solar powered drones. All this to beam WiFi access to the rest of the planet. We may soon have ubiquitous access throughout the world. Although, the more users online, the more money Google and Facebook make, so it’s not charity. The potential effects of this catalyst are unfathomable and remind me that we live in very interesting times.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not delusional. It isn’t all roses and sunshine, because with the rise of technology also comes cybercrime, identity theft, corporate espionage, Internet crime rings, and many other negative human tendencies. That is the essence of any tool. To quote Spiderman’s dad, with great power comes great responsibility. With that mentioned, I am going to leave the seedy underbelly of the internet for another article.
Out of all these users, there are some interesting changes to point out. Check out the trends by going back to the Live Internet Stats link. When you visit trends and more> Internet Users by Country > Sort by 1 Year Growth, you’ll notice that it isn’t the developed world with the highest growth rates. Countries like Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, and Oman are benefiting from Mobile technology.
As countries, this enables them to get online without having to invest large amounts into fiber optic cables and distribution hubs. Conclusion: the developing world leapfrogged us into the Mobile future. Here in the United States we are mired down in legacy systems/wires, but we will move forward, slowly but surely.
Number of Websites
As more websites pop up, the amount of users per website is decreasing, on average. This makes sense since there is more customized content to choose from. The media landscape has changed its focus on you rather than the “masses”. Marketers complain about internet users being fickle, but that’s just because now we have choices. Additionally, when we get burned we let the world know about it. Partially to vent, but also for internet karma (help others avoid negative experiences).
We have come a long way from a world of a couple of radio stations, land line phones, and the yellow pages, which was not even that long ago. I hope you found the information in this article interesting. Please add your 2 cents in the comments below and let’s start a conversation. Also, you can stay up to date on Internet knowledge by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Twitter.