The Internet is constantly changing. Because each change is small, we don’t necessarily notice how much it has changed since the technology developed to bring this wonder of connectivity and information into our homes.
A look through the pages of the 2000 Guinness Book of World Records can tell us a lot about how different technology is in just a little under 20 years. In the year 2000, the Internet was fairly new to most consumers, high-speed Internet was rare, and AOL was still going strong. Here are some other interesting facts about the Internet of 17 years ago.
IT WAS BIG, BUT STILL PRETTY SMALL
At the end of 2000, the number of people using the Internet was 327 million. That’s a not a small number. It is just a little more than the current population of the United States. This year, the Internet’s population is about 3.2 billion, or almost half of the world. So, the Internet was huge in 2000, but it was nothing compared to today.
WE WERE STILL USING HOTMAIL… A LOT
The most popular email provider at the turn of the century was Hotmail, which boasted 35 million subscribers. It was all the rage with high school and college kids, but hotmail cooled off once the younger generation started trying to get jobs. Wunderlilly@hotmail.com, just wasn’t the type of email address employers found impressive.
PAUL MCCARTNEY DID AN ONLINE CHAT
In the year 2000, Paul McCartney held the record for most questions received on an Internet site in 30 minutes. The former Beatle received over 3 million questions in just 30 minutes. The record was set in 1997. Keep in mind, this was long before Twitter.
YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT THE TOP SEARCH ENGINE WAS
Just take a guess. While Google started in 1998, it was not the top search engine yet. Yahoo was popular, but the search giant was selective in which sites it listed and wasn’t the most popular. Bing was 9 years away. Got an idea? Is it on the tip of your tongue? The biggest and most popular search engine at the turn of the century was AltaVista. The search giant indexed 150 million pages, had 21 million users, and 1 billion page views per month. Spoiler Alert: Yahoo now owns AltaVista.
PHOTO SHARING WAS POPULAR… BUT DIFFERENT.
The record for the most downloaded woman went to U.S. model Cindy Margolis. The Guinness Book of World record notes that immediately after appearing on a television show, her photo was downloaded once every 10 seconds for a period of two days. In 2000, it was her third year as the queen of Internet downloads.
THINGS WENT VIRAL BACK THEN, TOO
The record for “cyberstar with the most variations” was the Dancing Baby. The twirling tot also held the record for most “cyberstar” merchandise sales. Items bearing the computer-generated toddler’s image included T-shirts, screen savers, CDs and dolls.
ORIGIN WAS AROUND, AND SO WAS ONLINE GAMING
Origin held the record for the largest networked role-playing game with its hit Ultima Online. The service reported 14,000 players each day with 10 servers capable of holding 2,500 players at the same time. Britannia, the game’s setting, was also the largest parallel universe on the Internet. It isn’t Pokemon Go, but it was a start.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
Amazon.com existed in the year 2000, and was the largest online retailer, a title it still holds today. Of course, back then, the online mega-shop only sold books, CDs and audiobooks. Also, Match.com was and still is the largest online dating agency.
SEARCHING WAS A LITTLE CREEPIER
The most popular search terms always seem to tell us more than we want to know about ourselves. In 2000, the most popular search terms were “sex” and “chat.” The search term “Netscape” was also popular. If you remember it, you’re smiling. If you don’t remember it, I’m not gonna tell you what it was. We’re doing a little better nowadays when it comes to search terms. In 2016 the top 3 terms were “Powerball,” “Prince,” and “Hurricane Matthew.”
THE MOST MENTIONED PEOPLE
The most mentioned man on the Internet in the year 2000 was the man occupying the Oval Office at the time, Bill Clinton. Pamela Anderson was the most mentioned female. You can make your own joke here.
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