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Now that's what I call explosive growth

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.

Impressive. I happen to be one of those internet users that's been online for almost over ten years and remember when the 'net wasn't anywhere near that mark.

Tt's difficult to imagine one billion people. To put this in perspective, the State of Connecticut roughly has 3.5 million people living in it. A billion is just... a huge number. Colossal.

I miss the 'net days when it was "for geeks" as is stated in the article referenced above. I liked the whole "newness" of it back then and the fact that a lot of people didn't know about it. It was like a condensed worldwide community, only open to people who were willing to pay $29.95 a month for dial-up access (which I did) and college students. Anything over 56k speeds was a huge priviledge and very expensive.

Now fast internet is all but free. I think in the next ten years it will become free. In more than a few towns across the USA there is freely accessible wi-fi paid for by tax dollars (I know that's technically not "free", but you know what I mean). Heck, even some of the larger truck stops right now have free wi-fi. It's all just really amazing.

I wonder what the internet will be like in another ten years.

Will there be any more "sites" as we know it, or will dot-coms go by the wayside in favor of words separated by dots like industrial.light.and.magic?

Will cars all be outfitted with 'net connectivity? Many cars have optional GPS (which I predict will be a standard option on all cars by 2010) right now. How long will it take before 'net connectivity is put in there?

Here's something to bear in mind concerning the whole communications thing.

Ten years ago in 1995 if you told me:

* All new cell phones will have the option of browsing the internet.

* A Global Positioning System unit the size of a baseball, with no external antennas, will be able to navigate you anywhere in America running on 2 AA batteries, and will be freely available to purchase at your local electronics retailer.

* Long distance will cease to exist in the USA (think of Vonage and wireless phone providers)

* Internet will be freely available just by taking a laptop to a wi-fi spot allowing you to instantly get internet connectivity.

* Your bank will be 100% online enabled and you will probably never have to set foot inside there if you don't want to.

* Your credit card(s) will also have the same capability.

* Brand new computers will be available for under $300.

* Motherboards will be developed that will fit in the palm of your hand easily.

* A data card will be developed that is smaller than your fingernail and can hold almost 700 3.5" floppy disks worth of information - with no moving parts.

...I would have called you nuts. Yet, it all exists and more innovations continue to be developed.

I'm hoping all this new tech will bring the world closer together. It seems to be thus far.

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