The Austin Business Journal posted an article recently which reports that Verisign processed a peak of nearly 50 billion domain name system queries per day. This statistic was disclosed with another report that the total number of top level domain registrations had grown to 177 million worldwide.
These astronomical stats suggest that “global adoption” of the internet is eclipsing most other technological milestones throughout history. One is left wondering at what point does this evolutionary medium begin to slow down, if ever? By contrast, the light bulb remains still relevant. The automobile essential. Air conditioning obviously a favorite. All of these a figment of someone else’s imagination … that one day became a tangible, permanent reality. And which significantly elevated culture and civilization as we know it.
What does the internet provide for you? How did you get hooked? In reflecting on why I first obtained “internet access”, I had to cycle back through the many various reasons which sparked my curiosity initially. One incentive was an ad I read that told me I could download to my PC, for free, a Roland synthesizer patch (basically an MS DOS file). A bit later, it was the ability to listen to music samples on the “internet”. Before the net, you had to order these by telephone and wait for snail mail to arrive 7-10 business days later.
Today, I use the internet for more things than I can list here. It has become so pervasive and essential to my daily life, that I feel awkward if I do not have access to it. My wife uses it. My mother. All of our friends and co-workers. It’s almost as common as the light bulb. And I even know people who have no car, but they have a desktop and laptop computer.
Which brings me to the rest of the world. How essential is the internet to everyone else? The 2008 World Economic Forum published an incredibly comprehensive study (The Global Information Technology Report) on internet usage throughout the world. One of the more interesting sections was entitled …
From Mobility to Ubiquity: Ensuring the Power and Promise of Internet Connectivity… for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime
That title describes so well the ultimate meaning of the internet itself: power, promise, connection … for all people, everywhere, and all the time. In retrospect, the internet transcended so easily all of the skepticism and lack of vision which fueled the early doubters.
People mocked Christopher Columbus when he sailed “off the edge of the earth” (assumed to be flat). Same with Thomas Edison’s light bulb. The Wright Brothers. Henry Ford. And Bill Gates as he negotiated with tunnel-visioned IBM execs who authoritatively concluded the real juice was in their hardware, not the software. Laugh out loud! Those are history-defining moments.
To become truly “ubiquitous”, something must be present most everywhere, all the time. Readily available in mass. The internet, to even the casual observer, will most certainly fulfill this criteria someday. The aforementioned World Economic Report broke down into 6 stages the internet’s journey toward becoming ubiquitous or omnipresent within any given country. They are …
Proto-Internet: a penetration of less than 5%. A select few have internet access (elite businesses or government).
Early Days: 5% – 15% penetration, but growing fast. Internet access spreading in urban areas, but not in rural.
Familiarization: 15% – 25% with added emphasis on household penetration. Pent up demand for internet is building.
Extensive Use: A transitional stage in which at least 25% of all households have internet. Half the population are internet users.
Intensive Use: Half or more of all households have broadband connections. E-commerce, e-government, social networking, and business collaboration are now commonplace.
Ubiquity: Approaching 100% connectivity everywhere, at any time, by a majority of citizens. A world in which the internet connection follows the user instead of the user seeking a connection. The study concludes that NO COUNTRY HAS YET REACHED THIS LEVEL!
So, you and I now live in a world that not only enjoys the internet, but is becoming monumentally dependent upon it. Like a home heating system, indoor plumbing, and the light bulb. We consider them essential to the quality of our lives.
I have written here before about the profound power of human language, and the meaning which is conveyed in a single word. Domain names … will remain the most logical, and essential, access points for the internet. We’ve come a very long way already using the existing domain name structure.
The internet would have never moved beyond the “Proto-Internet” stage had thinkers not instituted the “domain name system“. That connected human language with high technology, and in so doing gave us an internet that would have universal appeal for all people. Driven by our existing dependence on & utilization of language.
Now, we have billions of domain name system queries per day. People searching for everything imaginable … using keywords and domain names. Welcome to the future.
Internet Domains, Registrars