I recently stumbled upon this incredible infographic which shows the inception of the internet and the progression of Search to the present day. Most of us knew the World Wide Web was something that would affect our lives and present us with yet another breakthrough in technology; but did we really know how much of an impact it would make. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come since the early 90′s when it was first introduced.
It goes without saying, that from an historical perspective the internet is as significant as the printing press, the radio, and television. It has surely been interesting to witness another huge milestone in communication, as well as, our lives. As the web has grown more and more vast it has adhered to and exceeded the changing technologies. So too has the beating heart of the internet, that is Search, shaped these advances in our world.
The graphic shows the origin of Search, which is really monumental, especially now that we have the benefit of looking back in hindsight and studying the trends. So logical it seems now, that we must have a way to navigate the infinite amount of data created every day. Search has evolved into so much more than just a way to find something, it has created an amazing advertising vehicle and provides a wealth of knowledge about consumer spending habits.
In addition to this, search engines have presented internet marketing professionals new ways to reach an audience along with the many challenges that go with it. Search has spawned spin-off industries, new technical philosophies, and created the need for SEO (Search Engine Optimization); a terminology first coined by John Audette and Bruce Clay in 1997. SEO has become crucial to businesses online and offline and is ushering the people who weren’t aware of its significance to those who now embrace the technology.
How individuals use the net has also changed as the web has gotten larger and the connections have gotten faster. The exponential growth of the internet is staggering; note the number of people online in 1993 at somewhere over 10 million, then 74 million in ’96 with more than half a million websites. Now the number of users exceed 2 billion and over 240 million websites to surf. Wow!
So many major players on the landscape are now even larger, or they’re no more, or they’ve morphed into something else or bigger or just faded away due to better and more efficient options. Here we see Lycos, Alta Vista’s launched, Alexa being founded, Baidu in China, and web portals Blogger and WordPress launched. Then begins the Reign of Google circa 2001. Looking at the timeline now, it’s hard to believe all the changes and how everything has evolved.
Then, of course, the social networks come into play; My Space, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. These networks have obviously become a big part of society but have also become integral in the whole search experience. They’re not only used for keeping up with friends they’ve grown into tools for generating commerce and as business hubs for small and large companies alike.
In addition to providing a place to network, these mega-sites get crawled by the search engine spiders and bots, which is yet another way to find information we need and to get noticed and be found online. Take YouTube, for example, it probably gets crawled and indexed faster than any site online. Not only that, as the chart indicates, it is a search tool in its own right. I know how many times I’ve gone straight to YT for quick answers on some technical issues or video instruction. It’s also a great place to advertise your business.
So what surprises does the future have in store for us? Will newspapers and the phonebook become totally obsolete? Will there be enough non-users for there to still be a demand for such items as time progresses? I’ve been alluding to and writing about for years, that the main forms of media will keep merging and become closer to one “form” of media, in which the user accesses it, then decides what mode they use; be it for entertainment, communication, finding information, or all three.
We already see a lot of this now with cross-platforming, social networking, internet on mobile, T.v. and radio streamed online, etc. Only time will tell to what extent and whether or not these advances will be more favorable. I take an optimistic stance and see plenty of choices and options to fit different lifestyles. What are some of your thoughts as to what’s next on the horizon for developments in search and the internet in general?
I wanted to post this enlightening infographic created by SEO.com as both a fun item of interest and as a reference source. My thanks go out to the creators who provided an embed code which makes it possible to post and share with others. I hope you can learn from and enjoy this interesting and informative bit of artwork. Enjoy!