The internet: 1969 to 2013, then and now (infographic)

6 Sep 2013

To most of us, the internet is still a pretty recent phenomenon but in fact its history extends back five decades to 1969 with a project known as ARPANET, launched by four US universities.

The basis of the internet as we know it today came about when in October of 1969, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Stanford Research Institute (SRI),  University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Utah activated a project known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET).

According to an infographic by Who Is Hosting This that compares milestones along the way with the internet of today, in 1993 there were 130 websites in the world – today there are 634m websites.

Future Human

In 1998, there were 50m users of the internet – by 2012 this had grown to 2.1bn users.

The world’s first email was sent in 1971 – in 2012, some 297bn emails were being sent daily, amounting to 204m emails per minute.

When Google was established in 1998, the number of search queries were 9,800 a day – by 2012 there were 3bn searches being conducted daily, adding up to 1.2trn search queries a year.

For those of you astute enough to realise the importance of e-commerce, the value of e-commerce sales in 2002 stood at US$72bn. Last year, the value of e-commerce transactions globally stood at US$225.5bn.

“Over the nearly five decades since ARPANET’s debut, computer networking has evolved to a level beyond even the loftiest dreams of those who created it,” Who Is Hosting wrote in its blog.

“The next time you shoot a quick email to a friend and send it winging through the electronic ether, consider this: The first message ever sent on a network consisted of just two letters.

“The message was meant to read, ‘LOGIN,’ but the network only managed to transmit two letters before the whole system crashed. Not a very auspicious beginning for a system that would one day support 297bn emails every single day,” they wrote.


Web history image (at top) via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years