Slate had an interesting article last month about the Internet back in 1996. Here are five facts that jumped out at me.
- Only 20 million American adults had access to the Internet, about as many as subscribe to satellite radio today. (Internet World Stats reports nearly 250 million Internet users in North America today.)
- Americans with Internet access spent fewer than 30 minutes a month surfing the Web. (Today, we spend about 27 hours a month online.)
- You accessed the Internet by dial-up modem, tied up your phone line, and paid by the hour. Plus, it took about 30 seconds to load each page.
- There was not a whole lot to do online. There was no YouTube, Digg, Google, Twitter, Facebook, or Wikipedia. There was no instant messaging or online MP3’s. Amazon was just getting started and only sold books. You mostly checked news, weather and email.
- Yahoo produced its search directory using actual human beings who reviewed new sites and cataloged them. Obviously, this model was unable to keep pace with the growth of the Web.
What do you remember about those early internet days? How do you think the Internet may change in the next decade?