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A changing world measured in Internet time

60 seconds is quite a lot in Internet time. This is what happened, on average, every 60′ in 2019. All figures are impressive, but the one that hits me most is seeing that in just one minute people are watching 694,444 hours of Netflix, that is more than 77 years in a single minute. Image credit: LoriLewis – Visual Capitalist

It has become a sort of tradition to see an infographic describing what is going on every 60′ (on average) on Internet.

Last year Internet user reached 4.39 billions, an increase of some 400 million on 2018, 9%, a growth that is mostly due to the growing number of smartphones – 3.2 billions in 2019. I would expect these numbers to grow a bit faster in 2020 as more people have been “forced” to the cyberspace by Covid-19 countermeasures.

What are all these people doing on the Web?

Her the infographic (see figure on top) shed some light by looking at what happened on average in 60 seconds:

  • 694,444 hours of Netflix being watched (that is over 77 years squeezed into a single minute);
  • 41.6 million WhatsApp/Facebook messages, 31 million WeChat messages, 188 million emails are sent, with “just” 18.1 million SMS sent (the scale as tipped towards OTT) and 87,500 people tweets;
  • 4.5 million YouTube clips viewed;
  • 1 million Twitch (on line games);
  • 1 million logging on Facebook, 347,222 scrolling Instagram, 2.1 million Snaps created and 1.4 million Tinder swipes;
  • 3.8 million Google searches;
  • 390,030 apps downloaded (Google Play and App Store);
  • close to  1 million $ spent to buy on-line
  • 180 smart speakers shipped.

What’s notable is the relatively slow increase in the number of searches (possibly due to a greater use of Apps to find answers), slow growth of Facebook (saturation is in sight) and flat number of emails (here a possible reason might be the increasing number of workplace collaboration tools like Slack.

An interesting number, although it might seem a pigmy among giants, is the one of smart speakers sold, 180 every minute. That is close to hundred million smart speakers sold in a year, a hundred million devices that on the one hand transform our homes into interactive ambient and on the other hand shift our way of interacting from typing to speaking, from an interaction with a machine to an interaction with a living presence. I think this will be disruptive in this decade, with the keyboard fading away.

This is what created waves and amazement in 2010. Looking back it feels like very little indeed. Image credit: Go-Globe

As I looked at these data, I wondered what was the picture in 2010, how did the internet world changed in these last 10 years?

Pronto! A few clicks and here it is (see graphic on the side):

  • Netflix was not considered worth mentioning, it was just starting its streaming services in a few international markets;
  • the number of email sent was not that different, 168 millions vs 188 million, a 10% increase in 10 years … SMS also were not mentioned although they totalled 11.5 millions but the number of phones at that time was unbalanced towards basic features phones (only 13% were smartphones…), . WhatsApp was just starting (January 2009), WeChat was not born (2011);
  • 1.3 million Youtube clips were viewed, less than one third of today;
  • Twitch did not exist (2011);
  • Facebook had 400 million users at the beginning of 2010 and 500 million at the end of the year, showing amazing growth. In 2019 it reached 2.38 billion users. Tinder launched in 2012 and by 2014 was already registering over 400,000 swipes per minute;
  • Searcher were a tad short of 700,000 in 2010, less than 1/5 of today;
  • 13,000 apps were downloaded, 1/30 of today, and yet it seemed huge at that time;
  • eCommerce was less than half of today in terms of revenues and even smaller in terms of on line retailers;
  • We did not know what a smart speaker was…




About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.