Yesterday Jakob Nielsen (a known internet usability expert) wrote that in 2005 the milestone of 1 billion internet users has been passed. On his blog he writes:
The Internet is growing at an annualized rate of 18% and now has one billion users. A second billion users will follow in the next ten years, bringing a dramatic change in worldwide usability needs.
According to Morgan Stanley estimates, 36% of Internet users are now in Asia and 24% are in Europe. Only 23% of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers — one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto — were networked together.
It took 36 years for the Internet to get its first billion users. The second billion will probably be added by 2015; most of these new users will be in Asia. The third billion will be harder, and might not be reached until 2040.
Ok, he guesses that the 2 billion border will be crossed in 2015. Well when I look at the fast adoption of the internet in Asia, i guess 2012 could be possible. And if the plans for the 100 dollar PC’s wil be realised, then I predict that 2,5 billion can be online in 2020.
The other 3,5 billion will be hard to reach under current conditions. For this we need a lot more investments in the poor countries. And these countries need food and a basic economy, before the will start thinking about global communications.
But, the internet can be of great value to developing countries. Recently I joined an organisation called Health Connections International. This organisation has the goal to build a portal to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise between non-English speaking health professionals and English speaking HIV/AIDS, TB and demand and harm reduction specialists across the globe.
Initiatives like this will help the people in countries to fight the problems in there region and will result in more global exchange of knowledge. The success of sharing knowledge is in the numbers. A knowledge base used by two people is not really valuable. A knowledge base accessible to 2,5 billion users is extremely powerful. On my other blog I’m writing about technologies to build these solutions (internet application that can support a billion users). For this we need a some very good de centralized internet software components and good scaling standards…
I truly believe that in the near future (in the next 10 years) the 2 billion users will have a better live because of the services that can be provided over the internet…