Looking back 10 years ago is kind of hard. It's difficult to remember much of anything from when I was a snot-nosed brat. I was, however, already messing around with the Internet at that point, but it was mostly for school or playing Shockwave games. It's actually kind of astounding to see just how far we've come.
A new infographic from Best Education Sites seeks to put things into perspective for all of us who still complain about the Internet. It used to be much worse. Looking objectively back on 2002, the Internet was going through its awkward teen years as it tried to prove itself to the world.
Speaking of the world, there were only 569 million people worldwide connected to the Internet in 2002. That number has increased to 2.27 billion in 2012. Likewise, Internet usage was only at 46 minutes a day 10 years ago. It has increased to four hours a day now. The number of Web sites has also increased with 3 million in 2002 and 555 million in 2012. The rapid growth of the Internet is what led to the world switching to IPv6 on June 6.
It was to be expected, but it really is surprising to see that Internet Explorer was the dominant browser of choice only 10 years ago. In 2002, 95 percent of Internet users were on Microsoft's Web browser. Only 39 percent are using Internet Explorer today as Firefox and Chrome eat away at its market share.
The most interesting difference between the two years are the most popular search terms. In 2002, people were searching for topics like Spiderman, Star Wars, Avril Lavigne and American Idol. In 2012, we're busy searching for things like Rebecca Black, Google+ and iPhone 5. We can at least rest easy knowing that our infatuation with pop culture has not subsided over the last decade.
The biggest change, however, came in the form of social networking. Friendster, one of the first social networks, launched in 2002 with three million users. Now we're in 2012 where Facebook's recent second quarter filings revealed the site to have 955 million users.
As the infographic points out, the Internet's constant march of progress has led to its fair share of deaths. Numerous companies refused to jump on emerging trends and paid dearly for it later on. They point to companies like Blockbuster, Borders and Tower Records that refused to harness the Internet when they had a chance. Needless to say, all three companies are now bankrupt.
It's insane to think of how quickly the Internet evolved over a short span of 10 years. One must wonder how the Internet will change over the course of the next decade. We're beginning to see the Internet being used as a tool for war and peace. It's slowly taking the place of traditional media as well. The Internet may one day encompass everything that we consume on this earth as its delivered to us personally through our dedicated connections.