An animated graphic by James Eagle shows the most popular websites from 1993 to 2022, with Google currently at the top.
The internet has developed at a mind-boggling rate during the past three decades.
Less than 200 websites were accessible on the World Wide Web in 1993. By the year 2022, that number had increased to 2 billion.
This animated graphic by James Eagle, which shows the most popular websites from 1993 until 2022, offers a historical perspective on the development of the internet.
The 90s to Early 2000s: Dial-Up Internet
The proto-internet was accessible as early as the 1970s, but dial-up modems allowed for the development of the more user-friendly and generally accessible form of the internet that we know today.
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Users of dial-up had access to the internet via a modem that was plugged into a working phone line. Prodigy and CompuServe were just two of the many internet portals available in the 1990s, but AOL quickly overtook them all as the most widely used.
For almost ten years, AOL remained the most popular website. The online portal received more than 400 million hits per month by June 2000. For background, at that time there were approximately 413 million internet users worldwide.
However, AOL lost ground when broadband internet became available and rendered dial-up obsolete, and Yahoo replaced it as the most popular website.
The Mid 2000s: Yahoo vs. Google
Yahoo was first created in 1994 as a web directory under the name “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”
As the company gained momentum, its name was changed to Yahoo, which has now become a backronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”
By the early 2000s, Yahoo had quickly expanded to become the most visited website online. For numerous years, Yahoo was the leader; by April 2004, Yahoo had 5.6 billion monthly visitors.
But Google was right behind it. Google was established in 1998 as a more simple and efficient search engine, and the website soon gained popularity.
Funny enough, Google was Yahoo’s default search engine up until 2004, when Yahoo switched to its own search engine technology.
Google and Yahoo engaged in strong competition for the following few years, with both companies alternating at the top of the list of the most visited websites. Then, in the 2010s, Yahoo’s trajectory began to decline as a result of numerous wasted opportunities and bad decisions.
As a result, Google firmly established itself at the top, and the website is still the most visited one as of January 2022.
The Late 2000s, Early 2010s: Social Media Enters the Chat
Even though Google has been at the top for almost 20 years, the rise of social media sites like YouTube and Facebook is noteworthy.
Facebook and YouTube were by no means the first social media sites to take off. Back in 2007, MySpace enjoyed a successful era; at one point, it was the third-most popular website on the Internet.
YouTube and Facebook, however, heralded a new age for social media platforms, in part due to their perfect timing. Around the same time that smartphone advances were revolutionising the mobile phone business, both platforms hit the market. The design of the iPhone and the launch of the App store in 2008 made it simpler than ever to use your mobile device to access the internet.
Facebook and YouTube continue to rank second and third in terms of traffic as of January 2022.
The 2020s: Google is Now Synonymous With the Internet
By a wide margin, Google is the most popular search engine, accounting for 90% of all web, mobile, and in-app searches.
What websites will be the most popular in a few years? Will Google maintain its position at the top? There are no indications that the internet giant will slow down any time soon, but history has shown us that things may change. Furthermore, nobody should feel too at ease at the top.