18 Fun Interesting Facts You Never Knew About The Internet

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internet facts and statisticsWell, it’s official. Pretty much everyone now has broadband and the majority us of use the Internet more than we watch TV. Everyone and their grandmother is on Facebook, and many of us have some kind of embarrassing moment enshrined on YouTube. But how much do you really know about the Internet revolution?

Let’s take a look at how it all began, with this list of fun facts about the Internet that you probably didn’t know already.

  1. The technology behind the Internet began back in the 1960’s at MIT. The first message ever to be transmitted was LOG.. why? The user had attempted to type LOGIN, but the network crashed after the enormous load of data of the letter G. It was to be a while before Facebook would be developed…
  2. The Internet began as a single page at the URL http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, which contained information about this new-fangled “WorldWideWeb” project, and how you too could make a hypertext page full of wonderful hyperlinks. Sadly, the original page was never saved, but you can view it after 2 years of revisions here.
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  4. The first emoticon is commonly credited to Kevin Mackenzie in 1979, but was a rather simple -) and didn’t really look like a face. 3 years later,
     :-)

    was proposed by Scott Fahlman and has become the norm.

  5. Did you know – the Japanese also use emoticons, but theirs are the correct way up instead of on the side, and a lot cuter!

    ~~~ヾ(^∇^)

  6. The first webcam was deployed at Cambridge University computer lab – its sole purpose to monitor a particular coffee maker and hence avoid wasted trips to an empty pot.
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  8. Although the MP3 standard was invented in 1991, it wouldn’t be until 1998 that the first music file-sharing service Napster, would go live, and change the way the Internet was used forever.
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  10. Ever since the birth of the Internet, file sharing was a problem for the authorities that managed it. In 1989, McGill University shut down their FTP indexing site after finding out that it was responsible for half of the Internet traffic from America into Canada. Fortunately, a number of similar file indexing sites had already been made.
  11. Sound familiar? Even today file sharing dominates Internet traffic with torrent files accounting for over 50% of upstream bandwidth. However, a larger proportion of download bandwidth is taken up by streaming media services such as Netflix.
  12. Google estimates that the Internet today contains about 5 million terabytes of data (1TB = 1,000GB), and claims it has only indexed a paltry 0.04% of it all! You could fit the whole Internet on just 200 million Blu-Ray disks.
  13. Speaking of search – One THIRD of all Internet searches are specifically for pornography. It is estimated that 80% of all images on the Internet are of naked women.
  14. According to legend, Amazon became the number one shopping site because in the days before the invention of the search giant Google, Yahoo would list the sites in their directory alphabetically!
  15. The first ever banner ad invaded the Internet in 1994, and it was just as bad as today. The ad was part of AT&Ts “you will” campaign, and was placed on the HotWired homepage.
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  17. Of the 247 BILLION email messages sent every day, 81% are pure spam.
  18. The very first spam email was sent in 1978, when DEC released a new computer and operating system, and an innovative DEC marketeer decided to send a mass email to 600 users and administrators of the ARPANET (the precursor of the Internet). The poor sap who had typed it all in didn’t quite understand the system, and ended up typing the addresses first into the SUBJECT:, which then overflowed into the TO: field, the CC: field, and finally the email body too! The reaction of the recipients was much the same fury as users today. It wasn’t until later though that the term “spam” would be born.
  19. So where does the word spam come from? One urban legend traces it back to the Multi User Dungeons of the 1980’s – primitive multiplayer adventure games where players explored and performed actions using text only. One new user felt the MUD community and experience was particularly boring, and programmed a keyboard macro to type the words SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM repeatedly every few seconds, presumably imitating the famous Monty Python sketch about spam-loving Vikings.
  20. Twenty hours of video from around the world are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The first ever YouTube video was uploaded on April 23rd 2005,by Jawed Karim (one of the founders of the site) and was 18 seconds long, entitled “Me at the zoo”. It was quite boring, as is 99% of the content on YouTube today.
  21. Internet terrorism is very much a real threat. In February 2008, 5 deep-sea cables that provided Internet connectivity to the Middle East were cut. Curiously, US-occupied Iraq and Israel were unaffected.
  22. The most common form of “cyber terrorism” is a DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack, whereby hundreds if not thousands of systems around the world simultaneously and repeatedly connect to a website or network in order to tie up the server resources, often sending it crashing offline. Anonymous released a tool this year that users could download and set on autopilot to receive attack commands from a remote command source. Similar DDOS attacks are often performed by the use of malware installed on users computers without their knowledge.

Do you know of any other fun and interesting facts about the Internet?  If so, let us know about them in the comments!   Happy New Year.

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Comments (69)
  • Lisareed

    I remember sending letters to my congressman to support Al Gore and his information super-highway initiative. Can you believe that many doubted the value of this? He deserved his Nobel Peace prize and a lot more….

    “Although Gore is most famous for his political career and environmental work, he is also noted for his creation of the internet.”[19] Campbell-Kelly and Aspray further note in Computer: A History of the Information Machine:
    In the early 1990s the Internet was big news…. In the fall of 1990 there were just 313,000 computers on the Internet; by 1996, there were close to 10 million. The networking idea became politicized during the 1992 Clinton-Gore election campaign, where the rhetoric of the information highway captured the public imagination. On taking office in 1993, the new administration set in place a range of government initiatives for a National Information Infrastructure aimed at ensuring that all American citizens ultimately gain access to the new networks.[20] “

    Read all about it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore_and_information_technology

  • Lisareed

    I remember sending letters to my congressman to support Al Gore and his information super-highway initiative. Can you believe that many doubted the value of this? He deserved his Nobel Peace prize and a lot more….

    “Although Gore is most famous for his political career and environmental work, he is also noted for his creation of the internet.”[19] Campbell-Kelly and Aspray further note in Computer: A History of the Information Machine:
    In the early 1990s the Internet was big news…. In the fall of 1990 there were just 313,000 computers on the Internet; by 1996, there were close to 10 million. The networking idea became politicized during the 1992 Clinton-Gore election campaign, where the rhetoric of the information highway captured the public imagination. On taking office in 1993, the new administration set in place a range of government initiatives for a National Information Infrastructure aimed at ensuring that all American citizens ultimately gain access to the new networks.[20] “

    Read all about it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A

  • Brent Lyon

    As far as Windows computers go, the file is still on your system, but the filespace is marked as “usable” by the OS. The next time you save or download new information on your computer, that filespace is written over.
    This is why Defragging is so important; fragmentation is the little bits of occupied filespace left over from deleted files. Defragging locates and removes those bits, freeing up your computer.
    The more you know~

  • Tina

    Andy,

    I’ve been following this discussion as I’m sure other MUO folks have done. I think what happened here is that one silly mistake was blown out of proportion and someone was offended by a lighthearted comment from James (danger, British humor!).

    In fact, Schnapp and others had pointed out the internet vs. www mixup earlier and James acknowledged the mistake. The thing is, we as writers cannot change our articles after they get published, so sometimes mistakes remain.

    Now let’s call this a draw and enjoy the weekend!

  • James Bruce

    Are you really that bored? Fine…

    Your example would be relevant if 99% of the population had answering machines and were no longer distinguishable from telephones, except for the hardware phreaks who maintained that an answering machine and a telephone are two different things – while the rest of the population got on with their lives and didnt give two hoots.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.