With all that it has to offer, the internet has become so intertwined in our daily lives that it is hard to imagine a time without it. Whether you are checking on stock performance, completing banking tasks, booking travel, emailing your boss, ordering groceries online, or simply playing a game, your daily life would be much different without it.
Lifestyle Changes Related to the Internet
The growth of the internet over the last few decades has vastly changed the way that we work, play, and conduct business. It has also disrupted other industries.
Thanks to the internet and the World Wide Web (WWW), tools like encyclopedias and card catalogs are now obsolete. In their place, there is a seemingly endless supply of information on nearly any topic at our fingertips any time of the day or night with the internet.
The United States Postal Service has seen a rapid decline in their revenue since the internet became widespread. Instead of mailing bills, people are paying them online. Instead of writing a friend or family member and mailing a letter, people can quickly send them an email. Instead of going to a local travel agent, people are booking their vacations online. The list of how the internet has changed our lifestyle goes on and on.
In addition, more shopping is being done online with retailers like Amazon. Several grocery store chains now let you place an order online and have groceries delivered right to your door. Food delivery services like Seamless and Uber Eats also use the internet to allow customers to place and pay for orders.
History of the Internet
The origins of the internet began with the need for government research laboratories to be connected. In August of 1962, J.C.R. Licklider of MIT sent the first series of memos via a network. These memos detailed his idea of a “Galatic Network”. Surprisingly like today’s internet, Licklider imagined a set of computers that were connected on a global scale to allow anyone to reach certain data or programs.
“I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996, catastrophically collapse.” – Robert Metcalfe, Electrical engineer,1995
In December of 1990, the first live website and server were born. That same year the first commercial provider of dial-up internet access came online. By 1993, anyone in the public could access the World Wide Web (WWW) on a royalty-free basis. By the end of the same year, there were 130 websites and 14 million internet users.
Other notable internet milestones include:
1994: Online ordering from Pizza Hut is available
1994: The first cyber bank, First Virtual opens
1996: Google’s precursor, BackRub is online
1999: Many internet service providers (ISP) offer free computers with the signing of a lengthy contract
2006: Cloud computing is on the rise
2010: As of August, there are 200 million registered domain names
2013: There are now over 1 billion internet hosts
2015: There are 100 billion monthly Google searches with those from mobile devices surpassing desktops for the first time ever
2016: A resolution on the promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the internet is adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council
Expansive Growth of the Internet
In less than three decades, the internet has exploded with information and lured in billions of new users. As of 2015, there were 271.35 million internet users in North America, compared to only 25.83 million in 1995 and 224.04 in 2005. Nearly 75 percent of Americans were using the internet on a regular basis in 2015. According to Internet World Stats, as of December 2017, there were 4.2 billion internet users which represents over 54 percent of the world’s population. Use of the internet has now become vital to schools, businesses, and individuals. It has also connected us globally in ways that have never happened before.
The internet has seen a dramatic increase in users as well as a growth in the way it is used and accessed. Internet accessible devices have expanded rapidly from only being able to use a desktop computer. Today the internet can be accessed on a variety of devices including a computer, mobile phone, digital TV, a gaming machine such as an Xbox One, or a personal digital assistant. Not only can we use the internet for web surfing and emailing but we can video chat with family thanks to programs such as Skype, stream television content with services like Hulu or Netflix, and upload our own video content or even host a live video with the help of YouTube, Snapchat or Facebook.
The internet is a conglomeration of both community and technology. In order for it to be successful, the internet has met basic needs of the community and used the community to effectively grow the infrastructure. Experts predict that if the internet is to ever experience setbacks or even fail, it will not be due to a lack of desire, vision, or technology. It will be because we collectively lack a unified direction for the future.