The Internet as we know it really dates back to the early 1990s, although the networks and technology behind it really have their roots in the 1960s and 70s. By the 90s workable email systems and websites had appeared giving the Net some of its modern day functionality.
However, it was limited by the fact that for most people accessing the Web meant using slow and unreliable dial-up connections. These meant that it took ages to download anything and your phone line was tied up in the process.
It was the advent of affordable broadband connections in the early 2000s that really saw usage start to take off as people and businesses saw the potential that the Internet offered to change the way we live our lives for the better.
Bigger and Bigger
In 2000 around 31 out of every 100 people in the developed world were using the Internet and only around seven in 100 globally. Since then the growth has been rapid. There are now 77 Internet users for every 100 in the developed world and 39 in 100 globally and 31 in 100 even in the developing world.
So what are all these people doing online? It’s often said that email is the application that made the Web take off, just as the spreadsheet made PCs popular. Indeed, email is still one of the most popular uses of the Internet offering, fast reliable, low cost communication around the globe – despite the problems created by junk mail.
Other means of communication like chat systems and VoIP phone calls have proved popular too but it’s email that still rules the roost when it comes to keeping in touch online.
Websites and Searches
It’s websites that most people think of when you mention the Internet though. Businesses around the world have seen the potential to open up new markets and become more accessible to their customers by using the Net. This has meant a boom in demand for companies offering web design Kidderminster based reflectioncreative for example.
Along with websites have come search engines. Early entrants into the space like Alta Vista and Ask have been supplanted by modern giants Google and Bing, offering fast, reliable searches of the vast quantity of information the Internet now contains.
As a repository of human knowledge the Internet is unrivalled. There’s more data than in any encyclopaedia and of course it’s easily accessible from anywhere. Unless your quest for knowledge is something particularly nichey you’re almost certain to find what you want on line. Do cross check with different sources though as not all sources are reliable.
Regulation, Privacy and Things
Which brings us to an issue at the core of how the Web is changing. In the past it’s been something of a Wild West environment with little regulation of what you could put online and who could access it.
Halfway through the second decade of the 21st century that’s beginning to change. Issues of censorship, regulation, privacy and government surveillance will be the defining factors of the next few years.
Then other big change is the development of an Internet of Things putting millions of smart devices online. The Internet isn’t done evolving yet.