Asking how big the internet is, is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. The answer is we really don’t know because it is unorganised, uncatalogued and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.
However, two recent sources are having a guestimate on where the internet is in terms of a global resource.
The first came from Internet World Stats which is “an International website featuring up to date world Internet Usage, Population Statistics and Internet Market Research Data, for over 233 individual countries and world regions.”
Their statistics put the number of worldwide internet users at 1.407 billion, up from 16 million in 1995. How things have changed. This is now 21.1% or more than 1 in every 5 people in the world who use the internet. They have an interesting table and graph, showing the growth over the last 13 years, which are well worth checking out.
These statistitcs are of course skewed by western nations’ use. Australia/Oceania, for example has only 0.5% of the world’s population, but 1.4% of the world’s internet users. Of the total population in this corner of the world, 57% are internet users. If we broke that further down to Australia alone, that would be higher.
The other stat come from the Google blog (thanks to Phil Bradley for the link). According to the Google post - We knew the web was big…., their “systems that process new links on the web to find new content hit a milestone: 1 trillion .. unique URLs on the web at once!” Wow, that’s 1,000,000,000,000 URLs. This does not include duplicated cotent or auto-generated copies, so its not as inflated as it may seem.
Very interesting too is that the first Google index in 1998 (yes, they are 10 years old this year), only had 26 million unique URLS. The post won’t guess at how many unique pages are on the web, although they suggest it could be infinite.
Big numbers, big things happening, just all the more reason for libraries to be there too.