Real words or buzzwords?: Internet+

Jan. 22, 2019
The Internet has evolved into much more than the information superhighway it was originally conceived to be

Editor’s note: This is the 37th article in the “Real Words or Buzzwords?” series from SecurityInfoWatch contributor Ray Bernard about how real words can become empty words and stifle technology progress.

The Internet was originally conceived of as the “information superhighway,” a means for information to be shared globally. It was thought to be both the backbone and the nerve center of Cyberspace, which manifested itself on the screens of our late 90s personal computers and laptops. Cyberspace was the name given to the notional (i.e. existing as an idea rather than something physically real) environment that was the sum of the shared “mind spaces” of the people connected via the Internet. People would log into Cyberspace and interact there, forgetting for the moment about the physical world around them.

The World Wide Web was introduced to the general public in August of 1991, and a year later there were 130 websites. In 1994 there were 2,738; in 1995, 23,500 websites; and by 1996 over 100,000. By 2008 there were over 162 million, and now at the start of 2019 there are over 1.8 billion websites. However, many of those are just “parked” website domains, no longer updated but kept online for historical purposes or held as future investments, like empty real estate lots that speculators have bought, hoping someone will want to buy the website domain name from them.

Netcraft estimates that there are 172 million active sites (those that get regular changes). Less then one million of those sites account for 50 percent of web traffic. See the interactive Internet Map, which is an interactive 2011 snapshot of 350,000 websites that lets you zoom in and out to see the relative sizes of the largest websites. Figure 1 below is a screenshot of one view of it.

Figure 1. The interactive Internet map.