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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.
  3. internet facts and statistics

  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.
  7. internet facts

  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.
  9. internet facts

  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.
  16. internet facts and statistics

  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.

  1. Tiger Lily
    September 21, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    I could've SWORN it was an Israeli who invented the world wide web???

    • mikeyd123
      October 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      nah mate my nan invented the internet

    • mikeyd123
      October 4, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      my nan invented the internet

  2. Lisareed
    February 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    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

  3. Lisareed
    February 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    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...

  4. Brent Lyon
    February 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    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~

  5. Tina
    January 15, 2011 at 2:36 am

    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!

  6. James Bruce
    January 14, 2011 at 9:55 am

    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.

  7. Andy Harrison
    January 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Stopped reading at #2. If you equate the beginning of WWW with the beginning of the internet, you aren't qualified to write on the topic.

    • James Bruce
      January 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      lol. my profound apologies. I shall instigate an immediate site wide filter that replaces all instances of the word "internet" with "world wide web"...

      • Andy Harrison
        January 14, 2011 at 1:54 am

        Why on earth would you do that? You only further clarify your ignorance on the topic if you still maintain the terms are interchangeable with search and replace. If you're talking about the internet as a service, obviously you would be correct. But what you're doing is no different than saying the invention of the answering machine is the same as the invention of the telephone.

        • James Bruce
          January 14, 2011 at 8:55 am

          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.

        • Andy Harrison
          January 14, 2011 at 11:34 am

          And your example would be relevant if someone were trying to pass themselves off as knowing what they were talking about by saying that Bell invented the answering machine. If you want to write about something, don't write about something you don't give two hoots about.

        • James Bruce
          January 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

          Have you thought about contributing to Wikipedia?

        • Andy Harrison
          January 15, 2011 at 1:14 am

          Presumably a thinly veiled reference to wikipedia being the place to go to correct other's misinformation? Do your colleagues know you openly disrespect them and their work like this? MUA seems like a site where they WANT people to think of it in high regard. Apparently, according to you, no one there actually gives two hoots. How sad for all those names in the MUA site staff list that actually seem to care about their contributions.

        • Tina
          January 15, 2011 at 1:36 am

          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!

  8. Ankit
    January 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm
  9. Jrguliz
    January 10, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Started on the Net in 94....

    Used Gopher (U of Minnesota) file retrival if I remember right.

    Veronica and Jughead were connected to Archie (via the Archie comic book series) I don't recall what they were used for ...but I do remember using them.

    Lynx was/is a text only web browser....still have a version on my linux desktop.

    Mosaic NCSA's browser the forerunner of Navigator (Netscape was a start-up company from students at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbane home of the NCSA).........this was before IE.

    Alta-Vista ....early search engine. I also remember Dogpile which was a search engine of search engines.

    RFC -- Request for Comments?

    Joe in Iowa

    PS googling to recall what I can't remember.

  10. Tarun Yadav
    January 9, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Nice Reading. Thanks...

  11. Coljep
    January 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I find it strange that there is no mention of Tim Berners-Lee who is usually credited as "The father of the WWW" at CERN

  12. James Bruce
    January 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Good point. I suspect there are a few thousand people who were involved that I should have mentioned, but most are quite boring...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...

  13. James Bruce
    January 8, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Er, yes, c'mon readers, it would be unfair for me to answer all of these!

    (Old Timer, I feel an article coming on - if you'd like to write one yourself, we have a new guest submissions feature - if not, I shall take your idea and run with it!)

  14. James Bruce
    January 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W...

    Seems like Steve Jobs described it as the forerunner to the internet, but doesnt look like the creators were the same, no.

  15. home jobs
    January 8, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Good point you have shared thanks...........

  16. Old timer
    January 8, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Internet quiz ... Where did the following come from?
    Archie
    Gopher
    Veronica
    Jughead
    Lynx
    Mosaic
    Navigator
    AltaVista
    RFCs

    Have fun!

    • James Bruce
      January 8, 2011 at 10:15 am

      Er, yes, c'mon readers, it would be unfair for me to answer all of these!

      (Old Timer, I feel an article coming on - if you'd like to write one yourself, we have a new guest submissions feature - if not, I shall take your idea and run with it!)

    • Jrguliz
      January 10, 2011 at 5:07 am

      Started on the Net in 94....

      Used Gopher (U of Minnesota) file retrival if I remember right.

      Veronica and Jughead were connected to Archie (via the Archie comic book series) I don't recall what they were used for ...but I do remember using them.

      Lynx was/is a text only web browser....still have a version on my linux desktop.

      Mosaic NCSA's browser the forerunner of Navigator (Netscape was a start-up company from students at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbane home of the NCSA).........this was before IE.

      Alta-Vista ....early search engine. I also remember Dogpile which was a search engine of search engines.

      RFC -- Request for Comments?

      Joe in Iowa

      PS googling to recall what I can't remember.

  17. Dougq
    January 8, 2011 at 3:30 am

    I believe the correct starting point for the internet is:
    The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), was the world's first operational packet switching network and the core network of a set that came to compose the global Internet.

    • James Bruce
      January 8, 2011 at 10:12 am

      You're right, but I assumed it was common knowledge and hence not worth putting in an article about stuff you didnt know already. Apologies!

  18. Old timer
    January 8, 2011 at 4:40 am

    Internet quiz ... Where did the following come from?
    Archie
    Gopher
    Veronica
    Jughead
    Lynx
    Mosaic
    Navigator
    AltaVista
    RFCs

    Have fun!

  19. Dougq
    January 8, 2011 at 4:30 am

    I believe the correct starting point for the internet is:
    The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), was the world's first operational packet switching network and the core network of a set that came to compose the global Internet.

  20. Muzza919
    January 8, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I am puzzled. I worked for Rank Xerox in 1980. We sold WYSWIG workstations at a ridiculous price to governments for global communications using ethernet, a XEROX development. I was under the impression that the internet was a US government development to allow uninteruptable communications for its military. If any number of (computer) nodes were destroyed, the message would still get through. Was I misinformed?

    • Old timer
      January 8, 2011 at 3:47 am

      Right about Internet, but if you check history of Ethernet (especially refer to The Blue Book) it was created by digital, intel & xerox (hence DIX framing vs later IEEE 802.3)

  21. Decinmiomi
    January 8, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Is it true that the inventer of the WWW was the same person who compiled the Whole Earth Catalog ?

  22. Merlin
    January 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I don't know how much of this is actualy true but it's a goody none the less.In the days of old when the greek senate convened,they stood in a circle around a small pillar.When one of the senators thought he had a good enough idea (a new law,change in policy)to present to the rest,he would stand on the pedestal and all talking would cease to listen to him.before the idea was presented,a noose would be placed around his neck and he would present his idea with no interuptions.If the idea was sound,the noose was removed and they would celebrate the new law.If anyone objected the new idea,the objector would kick out the pedestal.Now that was accountability for wasting the senates time.Oh ya! The one who had the original idea was replaced by the one who kicked the pedestal who then was expected to improve the new law,and so on it went.If the first idea was too dumb to warrent a reply,they would all just go,leaving the first standing on the pedestal with the noose around his neck from which came...(give a man enough rope and.......)

  23. James Bruce
    January 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Well Brian, I'm glad you started reading from the first paragraph. I always try to write from the first paragraph, but I have to account for those people who begin to read from the last paragraph too. Glad to see you're not one of them.

    Anyway, I didn't parrot any misinformation - I made it up entirely myself! Credit where credit is due, please.

  24. sammmi
    January 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Al Gore, never said he invented the enternet, other people said,he said he invented the internet. You will never find a quote or video (in his exact words) that say he invented the internet. I just like the facts to be accurate. That said, I personally dislike Al Gore as he does not practice what he preaches. Sammmi

    • Tina
      January 8, 2011 at 3:17 am

      But he did say that he was involved in the process or with the people who did invent it at the time somehow.

  25. Brian
    January 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    The very first thing I read was the first paragraph. I wonder where so many people get this mis-information that everyone has a connection to the internet. And I wonder why the author of this article decided to vomit and parrot that mis-information here. Less that 10% of the world population has a connection to the internet. That's pretty less than 'pretty much everyone'.

    • James Bruce
      January 7, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      Well Brian, I'm glad you started reading from the first paragraph. I always try to write from the first paragraph, but I have to account for those people who begin to read from the last paragraph too. Glad to see you're not one of them.

      Anyway, I didn't parrot any misinformation - I made it up entirely myself! Credit where credit is due, please.

  26. rgreen
    January 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    #19: If you look at the main people involved with developing the Internet and the World Wide Web, you'll find that a surprising number of them were named Robert.

  27. Afzarl
    January 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Wot is de stati-STICKS for useless comments? LOL!

    • James Bruce
      January 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

      Let's see, for my extensive poll of one new blog that I own, I currently have 6 approved comments, and over 2500 spam comments caught by akismet. Those are straight up spam though. USELESS comments? Must be at least over 9000 for this post alone!

  28. Mona Sharma
    January 3, 2011 at 9:07 am

    great article

  29. The Creativ3 Bee
    January 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

    GREAT post. Made and me giggle as well as gasp in shock quite a few times. Shared at thecreativ3bee.blogspot.com.

  30. James Bruce
    January 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Excuse my language, twas a slip of the keyboard...

    Good point.

  31. Anonymous
    January 2, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Thanks.

  32. Ahmad
    January 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    the Guy who invented the internet is not rich :D

    • James Bruce
      January 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

      Al Gore invented the internet!

    • PatMerlin321
      January 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      why isn't the guy who invented the internet not rich!?!?this is a travesty!Everyone that uses the internet should send this guy a nickle out of gratitude.I for one would be extremely inerested in how much he ended up with.Oh ya,for his contribution to the world this money should not be taxed and he should also get the nobel prize for getting the world communicating as never before.There is no bigger motivation to peace than communication.

    • Anonymous
      January 10, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Whaddaya mean? AlGore is loaded...

  33. Dingdong
    January 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    If you delete a program from your HHD, where does it go?

    It was something & now it isnt. WTF???

    • James Bruce
      January 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

      WTF indeed...

    • Telljuliet
      January 2, 2011 at 9:57 am

      When you switch of the tele...where does the actors from the screen go...im confused ;)

    • Brent Lyon
      February 5, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      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~

    • Kturner
      March 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      What's an HHD? Do you mean HDD? If so, they go to gladiator arenas on your motherboard, haven't you ever watched Tron?

  34. InAComaDial999
    January 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    "The Internet began as a single page...". You mean the World Wide Web began as that page. The Internet existed long before that.

    • James Bruce
      January 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

      Excuse my language, twas a slip of the keyboard...

      Good point.

  35. Schnapp
    January 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Fact 2 is slightly flawed: "The Internet" and "The WorldWideWeb" are not the same. While the later started indeed with said HTML-page, the internet is, obviously, quite older.

    • James Bruce
      January 2, 2011 at 9:43 am

      good point schnapp, I appreciate you pointing that out.

  36. Dingdong
    January 1, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    If you delete a program from your HHD, where does it go?

    It was something & now it isnt. WTF???

  37. Tina
    January 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Loved reading this, great article James!
    But one question remains: what role did Al Gore play in inventing the internet? ;)

  38. Tina
    January 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Loved reading this, great article James!
    But one question remains: what role did Al Gore play in inventing the internet? ;)

  39. Aibek
    January 1, 2011 at 7:52 am

    nice read, thank you James

  40. Srinivas G
    January 1, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Nic Collection of facts. I enjoyed reading this article. Thanks. :)

  41. Mango Wodzak
    January 1, 2011 at 2:16 am

    back in the 1980s I used to be administrator for a Bitnet Node in Norway (Bitnet was a network of IBM type mainframes.. later integrated fully into the internet), and one thing I recall on the IP address, or the node address, or however those things were called back then, was that after stating the allocated node code (loosely resembling the university, institution or firm name), city, country and possibly continent separated by dots that got converted to numbers somehow, there was a final field that said "Earth".. I always thought now there's foresight for you! I think IBMs internal network, VNET also had the same field visible..

    • James Bruce
      January 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      lo, thanks Mango! it's a shame IP addresses today don't really apply to any physical space, or tracking people down would be a whole lot easier.

    • Harm Joris ten Napel
      January 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      .WORLD is still a common (default) extension in Oracle TNS naming.

  42. Jan Karlsbjerg
    December 31, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Item 2: "The Internet began as a single page at the URL http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html"
    should be: "The World Wide Web began as a single page at the URL http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html"

    Item 3: WordPress auto-replaced your colon-dash-bracket text with an icon (thus ruining the point).

    You should upgrade your WordPress to the latest security release 3.0.4 to avoid getting hacked.

    I'll go away and stop being grumpy now :-)

  43. Jan Karlsbjerg
    January 1, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Item 2: "The Internet began as a single page at the URL http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/..."
    should be: "The World Wide Web began as a single page at the URL http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/..."

    Item 3: WordPress auto-replaced your colon-dash-bracket text with an icon (thus ruining the point).

    You should upgrade your WordPress to the latest security release 3.0.4 to avoid getting hacked.

    I'll go away and stop being grumpy now :-)

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