Seven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Net
by Robert McNicholas on June, 11 2018
About 2.4 billion people in the world have access to the Internet, and about 70% of them log on to it each day. (That’s according to the 2009 CIA World Factbook; I’m guessing the numbers have gone up since then.) You probably use the Net multiple times per day, as I do, to check the weather in the morning, stay in contact with friends and business associates, shop, and the like.
It’s so much a part of our everyday life that we forget about it—until we lose our connection, and then we panic and look for the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot. Today, we’re going to give the Internet props. Here are seven things you probably didn’t know about the Net.
- The Web turned 27 this year. That’s right. If those WWWs were a person, they could drive, drink, rent a car, and vote. Swiss programmer Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web, as we know it, in 1991. The first web page went live on August 6 of that year.
- The United States has over 245 million Internet subscribers. Again, this comes
from the 2009 Factbook, so the number has probably changed a bit. This means that Americans rank second in the world when it comes to Internet users; China has the top spot, at well over 300 million, and Japan sits in position three.
- The idea behind the Internet—networking—dates back to the late 1960s.The Internet and computer networking depend on a technique known as packet switching. Basically, this means chopping up data into tiny parcels and sending them over whichever route will get them to their destination the fastest. Originally, this computer-linking technology was used primarily by universities.
- France had its own Internet (kinda sorta). From the 1980s until its official retirement in 2012, people in France had access to the Minitel, a sort of Internet-ish network that used a proprietary box-like terminal. Although it was nowhere near as pretty as the Net (the interface relying more on text than on images and graphics), it did allow users to check the weather, catch the news, and make travel arrangements.
- Social networking loves the Internet. As of September 2013, 74% of American online adults had a social networking account. By far, Facebook was the most popular, followed in order by LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. That’s according to the Pew Internet Research Project.
- Windows is the most popular non-mobile operating system on the Net.Mac-based computers trail far behind, raking in just 7% compared to Windows’ 91%. Open-source platform Linux (and others) shares the remaining 2%. The picture is different when it comes to mobile use, like tablets and smartphones. IPads and iPhones each account for around 20% of online traffic. Android, in all its versions, pulls in about 30%.
- Annoying Factoid: The Internet and the Web are not the same thing. We know. Nobody cares, and we all use “web” and “Internet” interchangeably. But if you’re ever playing a trivia game and this comes up, here’s the real deal: The Internet is comprised of the machines and networks that make it possible for us to access that world wide web of information we all depend on. However, not everything on the Internet is part of the web. Only if it has “www” in the address somewhere—which, of course, almost everything does.
So now you know just a bit more about our daily technology workhorse. Interesting, isn’t it?
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