Google plots the 20-year evolution of the Web

Google releases an interactive visualization that plots user and data growth over time, as well as the Web technologies that have driven the transformation of the Internet.

The color bands represent the interaction between Web technologies and browsers. Google

As part of its Google I/O extravaganza, Google released an interactive visualization that tracks the evolution of the Web over the last 20 years in terms of user and data growth, as well as the core Web technologies that have driven the transformation of the Internet from plain old HTML to a rich, interactive medium.

Complete coverage: Google I/O

The visualization also plots the growth of data, from 1 petabyte per month in 1995 to 27,483 petabytes per month in 2011. For a sense of scale, Google estimates that if 14,414 petabytes of data were stored on DVDs placed side by side, they would cover the distance from the Earth to the moon -- 238,900 miles. In addition, the visualization tracks Internet user growth, starting at 100 million in 1996 and reaching 2.27 billion in 2011, about a third of the people on the planet.

About the author

Dan has more than 20 years of journalism experience. He has served as editor in chief of, CNET News, ZDNet, PC Week, and MacWeek.


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