Infographic: The Evolution of Instant Messaging
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The Evolution of Instant Messaging

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The concept of instant messaging crossed into the mainstream in the 1990s, allowing friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and like-minded thinkers from all over the world to connect in real-time.

Since then, instant messaging has revolutionized how we communicate, and today over 2.5 billion people are signed up for at least one messaging app. The present IM experience is seamless, and it intuitively integrates features like video, photos, voice, e-commerce, and gaming with plain-old messaging.

However, despite the impressive features of dominant apps like Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and Whatsapp, today’s technology would simply not be possible without the earlier breakthroughs of their more rudimentary predecessors.

Instant Messaging: Past, Present, and Future

The following infographic from Hello Pal, a messaging app allowing for instant translation, shows the evolution of instant messaging. It pays homage to the advancements made in the early days by apps such as ICQ or AIM, while also looking at the trends in IM that will surface in the coming years.

The Evolution of Instant Messaging

While messaging is commonplace today, it was only two decades ago that chatting with friends and strangers online was a revolutionary concept.

The History of Instant Messaging

1961 – MIT’s Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS), along with other multi-user operating systems, helps to pioneer instant messaging by allowing up to 30 users to chat in real-time.

1988 – Internet Relay Chat (IRC) allows users to connect to networks with client software to chat with groups in real-time. IRC peaked in popularity in the 1990s, but still has hundreds of thousands of users today.

The late 1990s sees the first major competing IM platforms arrive: ICQ, AIM, MSN, and Yahoo all fight for market share in the new instant messaging market.

1992 – The first SMS message, “Merry Christmas”, is sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the U.K. in December.

1996 – Israeli company Mirabilis launches ICQ, which allowed users to chat one-on-one or in groups, exchange files, and search for other users. At its peak in 2001, ICQ had over 100 million accounts registered.

1997 – AOL launches AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), which pioneers the “Buddy List” concept. By the mid-2000s, AIM has the largest share of the instant messaging market in North America with 52%.

1998 – Yahoo! Messenger launches, allowing users with a Yahoo! ID to connect.

1999 – Microsoft releases MSN Messenger, a competitor to AIM and Yahoo. By 2005, roughly 2.5 billion messages are sent each day on the platform.

1999 – Across the Pacific Ocean, Tencent Holdings launches its first successful app. It’s called QQ, and it is initially a near-exact clone of ICQ.

To many, the 2000s is a Golden Age for instant messaging. Sharing photos, making video calls, and playing games are now common platform features

2001: By this time, only 30 million SMS text messages are sent per month in the United States.

2002: Apple launches iChat for its Mac OS X operating system, which is compatible with AIM.

2003: Skype allows Internet users to communicate with others through video, voice and instant messaging.

2005: Google Talk, available in a Gmail user’s window, is launched to allow easy communication between email contacts.

2006: MySpace launches the first instant messaging platform built within a social network: MySpaceIM.

2006: Market Snapshot (US Market)

  • AIM: 53 million
  • MSN: 27 million
  • Yahoo: 22 million
  • Google: 866,000

2006: By this time, 12.5 billion SMS text messages were sent each month in the United States

2008: Facebook Chat is released, allowing Facebook users to message friends or groups of friends on the social network. (Later on, Facebook would release a standalone mobile app version called Facebook Messenger in 2011.)

2009: An upstart WhatsApp allows users to text, send video, and audio for free.

Instant messaging undergoes a renaissance in the 2010s, as new apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and WeChat change how the game is played.

The popularity of new platforms change the concept of messaging entirely:

WeChat (2011)
Initially started by Tencent as a clone of WhatsApp, WeChat is now much more than a chat app. It’s a fully integrated mobile platform with shopping, payments, games, and much more.

WeChat processed $46 billion in payments in January 2016 – that’s about as twice as much as Paypal.

Snapchat (2011)
Snapchat, which is popular with millennials, allows users to send “snaps” which disappear after an allotted amount of time.

The app has evolved into a mix of private and public content, including brand networks and coverage of live events.

Slack (2013)
Slack’s workplace collaboration software allows teams to communicate easily and efficiently.

Slack was the fastest company to hit “unicorn” status ever, taking just 1.25 years to be worth over $1 billion.

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Mapped: The Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds in the World

Internet speeds vary depending on your location. Here’s a look at the countries with the fastest—and slowest—internet speeds worldwide.

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Internet Speeds

Mapped: The World’s Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds

How quickly did this page load for you?

The answer depends on the device you’re using, and where in the world you’re located. Average internet speeds vary wildly from country to country.

Which countries have the fastest internet connection? Using data from the Speedtest Global Index™, this map ranks the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds worldwide, comparing both fixed broadband and mobile.

What Factors Affect Internet Speed?

Before diving in, it’s important to understand the key factors that impact a country’s internet speed. Generally speaking, internet speed depends on:

  1. Infrastructure or the type of cabling (copper or fiber-optic) that a country’s utilizing to support their internet service. Typically, the newer the infrastructure, the faster the connection.
  2. Proximity/connection to submarine cables is important, as these massive undersea fiber-optic cables transmit about 97% of the world’s communication data.
  3. The size of a country, since landmass affects how much it costs to upgrade infrastructure. The smaller the country, the cheaper it is to upgrade cabling.
  4. Investment makes a difference, or how much a country’s government prioritizes internet accessibility.

Of course, other factors may influence a country’s internet speed too, such as government regulation and intentional bandwidth throttling, which is the case in countries like Turkmenistan.

Ranked: Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds

The Speedtest Global Index uses data from hundreds of millions of people, in more than 190 countries, to measure both fixed broadband and mobile connections.

When it comes to the fastest fixed broadband, Singapore comes in first place, with a download speed of 262.2 mbps—more than double the global average.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇸🇬 Singapore262.2
2🇭🇰 Hong Kong254.4
3🇲🇨 Monaco242.9
4🇨🇭 Switzerland222.0
5🇹🇭 Thailand221.0
6🇷🇴 Romania217.9
7🇰🇷 South Korea216.7
8🇩🇰 Denmark216.13
9🇨🇱 Chile209.8
10🇫🇷 France201.6
11🇭🇺 Hungary201.55
12🇺🇸 United States199
13🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.11
14🇱🇮 Liechtenstein194.77
15🇨🇳 China193.15
16🇪🇸 Spain187.36
17🇯🇵 Japan180.35
18🇨🇦 Canada176.46
19🇱🇺 Luxembourg173.16
20🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)170.84
21🇸🇪 Sweden167.29
22🇮🇱 Israel164.24
23🇳🇿 New Zealand164.16
24🇳🇱 Netherlands161.85
25🇳🇴 Norway161.61
26🇹🇼 Taiwan152
27🇵🇱 Poland147.45
28🇵🇹 Portugal145.96
29🇦🇩 Andorra145.18
30🇲🇹 Malta142.07
31🇰🇼 Kuwait141.42
32🇲🇩 Moldova139.61
33🇱🇹 Lithuania135.65
34🇱🇻 Latvia133.91
35🇵🇦 Panama131.35
36🇫🇮 Finland131.02
37🇩🇪 Germany130.76
38🇧🇪 Belgium121.81
39🇮🇪 Ireland117.4
40🇸🇲 San Marino114.24
41🇸🇮 Slovenia111.74
42🇧🇧 Barbados110.25
43🇶🇦 Qatar109.57
44🇧🇷 Brazil108.88
45🇸🇰 Slovakia106.12
46🇲🇾 Malaysia103.28
47🇬🇧 United Kingdom95.79
48🇮🇹 Italy94.3
49🇦🇹 Austria93.77
50🇷🇺 Russia93.37
51🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia91.65
52🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago87.42
53🇨🇿 Czechia86.29
54🇦🇺 Australia85.57
55🇪🇪 Estonia82.82
56🇯🇴 Jordan82.44
57🇷🇸 Serbia80.59
58🇧🇬 Bulgaria79.19
59🇻🇳 Vietnam75.3
60🇧🇭 Bahrain74.21
61🇺🇦 Ukraine73.89
62🇵🇾 Paraguay72.94
63🇵🇭 Philippines72.56
64🇧🇾 Belarus68.84
65🇨🇴 Colombia68.44
66🇴🇲 Oman65.3
67🇬🇾 Guyana63.2
68🇮🇳 India62.45
69🇺🇾 Uruguay61.23
70🇰🇿 Kazakhstan61.05
71🇽🇰 Kosovo60.86
72🇵🇪 Peru57.97
73🇦🇷 Argentina57.49
74🇨🇷 Costa Rica57.27
75🇬🇩 Grenada56.44
76🇧🇸 The Bahamas55.89
77🇭🇷 Croatia55.36
78🇿🇦 South Africa53.6
79🇲🇽 Mexico53.04
80🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines50.8
81🇲🇳 Mongolia50.52
82🇨🇾 Cyprus50.45
83🇬🇭 Ghana49.55
84🇱🇨 Saint Lucia49.5
85🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan47.91
86🇲🇪 Montenegro47.39
87🇱🇦 Laos47.01
88🇲🇬 Madagascar45.98
89🇪🇬 Egypt44.09
90🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina43.1
91🇲🇭 Marshall Islands42.6
92🇦🇱 Albania41.47
93🇧🇿 Belize41.45
94🇺🇿 Uzbekistan40.64
95🇹🇷 Turkey40.58
96🇯🇲 Jamaica40
97🇧🇩 Bangladesh38.98
98🇲🇰 North Macedonia38.84
99🇪🇨 Ecuador37.53
100🇦🇲 Armenia37.21
101🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire35.41
102🇬🇷 Greece35.03
103🇸🇳 Senegal34.68
104🇩🇲 Dominica34.42
105🇧🇳 Brunei33.94
106🇹🇯 Tajikistan33.85
107🇸🇨 Seychelles33.27
108🇮🇶 Iraq33.13
109🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis32.78
110🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.85
111🇳🇵 Nepal30.49
112🇳🇮 Nicaragua30.26
113🇧🇴 Bolivia27.06
114🇮🇩 Indonesia26.95
115🇬🇪 Georgia26.73
116🇸🇻 El Salvador26.41
117🇲🇦 Morocco26.4
118🇭🇳 Honduras26.17
119🇱🇰 Sri Lanka26.05
120🇰🇭 Cambodia25.82
121🇱🇷 Liberia25.65
122🇱🇸 Lesotho25.59
123🇧🇫 Burkina Faso25.52
124🇦🇿 Azerbaijan25.36
125🇵🇸 Palestine25.02
126🇨🇬 Congo (Brazzaville)24.12
127🇲🇺 Mauritius23.87
128🇪🇭 Western Sahara23.84
129🇬🇹 Guatemala23.82
130🇨🇻 Cape Verde23.78
131🇲🇻 Maldives23.72
132🇻🇪 Venezuela22.33
133🇧🇹 Bhutan21.79
134🇮🇷 Iran21.35
135🇫🇯 Fiji21.28
136🇬🇦 Gabon20.62
137🇹🇬 Togo20.61
138🇲🇱 Mali19.99
139🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar19.78
140🇷🇼 Rwanda18.45
141🇳🇦 Namibia18.16
142🇳🇬 Nigeria18.15
143🇹🇿 Tanzania17.93
144🇩🇯 Djibouti17.75
145🇰🇪 Kenya17.41
146🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda17.11
147🇱🇧 Lebanon16.9
148🇧🇯 Benin16.81
149🇨🇲 Cameroon16.6
150🇫🇲 Micronesia16.56
151🇱🇾 Libya16.53
152🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea16.4
153🇻🇺 Vanuatu15.44
154🇦🇴 Angola15.04
155🇭🇹 Haiti14.93
156🇸🇷 Suriname14.93
157🇿🇼 Zimbabwe14.86
158🇸🇴 Somalia14.66
159🇺🇬 Uganda14.62
160🇪🇹 Ethiopia14.44
161🇲🇼 Malawi13.72
162🇵🇰 Pakistan13.5
163🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea12.17
164🇸🇱 Sierra Leone12.13
165🇨🇩 DR Congo11.46
166🇲🇷 Mauritania11.08
167🇸🇾 Syria10.73
168🇿🇲 Zambia10.69
169🇸🇿 Swaziland (Eswatini)10.62
170🇧🇼 Botswana10.35
171🇹🇳 Tunisia10.3
172🇬🇲 The Gambia10.09
173🇩🇿 Algeria9.95
174🇧🇮 Burundi9.72
175🇦🇫 Afghanistan9.23
176🇸🇩 Sudan9.02
177🇲🇿 Mozambique8.84
178🇾🇪 Yemen5.95
179🇹🇲 Turkmenistan4.49
180🇨🇺 Cuba3.46

Size could be a factor in Singapore’s speedy internet, as it’s one of the smallest
and also densest countries in the world. With a landmass of just 280 square miles, it’s around the same size as Austin, Texas.

The country’s government has also prioritized investment in digital infrastructure, especially in recent years. In 2020, the Singaporean government promised to invest $2.52 billion towards digital innovation, with a portion dedicated to upgrading the country’s telecom infrastructure.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Cuba has the slowest fixed broadband, with a speed of 3.46 mbps. Along with poor government funding, Cuba also has limited access to submarine cables. While most countries are connected to several, Cuba is only connected to one.

Ranked: Mobile Internet Speeds

Mobile internet uses cell towers to wirelessly transmit internet to your phone. Because of this extra element, the ranking for mobile internet speeds varies from fixed broadband.

#CountryGlobal Speed (Mbps)
1🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates195.52
2🇰🇷 South Korea192.16
3🇳🇴 Norway173.54
4🇶🇦 Qatar169.17
5🇨🇳 China163.45
6🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia149.95
7🇰🇼 Kuwait141.46
8🇨🇾 Cyprus136.18
9🇦🇺 Australia126.97
10🇧🇬 Bulgaria126.21
11🇨🇭 Switzerland115.83
12🇱🇺 Luxembourg110.67
13🇩🇰 Denmark103.35
14🇳🇱 Netherlands100.48
15🇴🇲 Oman97.81
16🇸🇪 Sweden97.06
17🇺🇸 United States96.31
18🇸🇬 Singapore91.75
19🇨🇦 Canada87.65
20🇫🇮 Finland83.01
21🇧🇭 Bahrain81.54
22🇹🇼 Taiwan81.32
23🇬🇧 United Kingdom80.82
24🇭🇷 Croatia78.91
25🇭🇰 Hong Kong78.75
26🇩🇪 Germany75.67
27🇳🇿 New Zealand73.17
28🇫🇷 France72.47
29🇬🇷 Greece70.71
30🇪🇪 Estonia70.44
31🇧🇪 Belgium70.24
32🇦🇹 Austria66.38
33🇱🇹 Lithuania63.03
34🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)62.43
35🇲🇹 Malta62.1
36🇧🇳 Brunei61.85
37🇯🇵 Japan61.32
38🇭🇺 Hungary58.9
39🇨🇿 Czechia58.46
40🇲🇻 Maldives58.3
41🇸🇮 Slovenia57.52
42🇲🇰 North Macedonia57.37
43🇷🇴 Romania55.93
44🇮🇪 Ireland55.39
45🇵🇱 Poland52.28
46🇸🇰 Slovakia51.49
47🇿🇦 South Africa50.44
48🇷🇸 Serbia50.34
49🇦🇱 Albania49.82
50🇹🇭 Thailand49.37
51🇪🇸 Spain48.14
52🇮🇹 Italy47.51
53🇹🇷 Turkey47.43
54🇮🇱 Israel46.02
55🇱🇻 Latvia45.29
56🇵🇹 Portugal43.41
57🇻🇳 Vietnam41.16
58🇲🇩 Moldova40.64
59🇹🇬 Togo40.32
60🇮🇶 Iraq40.21
61🇸🇷 Suriname39.54
62🇦🇿 Azerbaijan39.25
63🇺🇾 Uruguay39.04
64🇲🇱 Mali38.84
65🇲🇦 Morocco37.63
66🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago37.54
67🇯🇲 Jamaica36.77
68🇬🇪 Georgia36.53
69🇧🇼 Botswana35.38
70🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina34.97
71🇲🇽 Mexico34.49
72🇨🇷 Costa Rica34.39
73🇵🇭 Philippines33.77
74🇦🇲 Armenia33.71
75🇧🇷 Brazil33.47
76🇲🇺 Mauritius33.32
77🇹🇳 Tunisia33.01
78🇧🇸 The Bahamas32.63
79🇨🇲 Cameroon32.46
80🇮🇷 Iran32.3
81🇱🇧 Lebanon32.06
82🇱🇦 Laos32.04
83🇰🇿 Kazakhstan31.81
84🇺🇦 Ukraine31.2
85🇩🇴 Dominican Republic31.07
86🇬🇹 Guatemala30
87🇦🇷 Argentina29.6
88🇲🇪 Montenegro29.14
89🇲🇾 Malaysia29.14
90🇭🇳 Honduras28.69
91🇽🇰 Kosovo28.5
92🇷🇺 Russia28.16
93🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar27.94
94🇯🇴 Jordan26.51
95🇫🇯 Fiji26.45
96🇳🇮 Nicaragua26
97🇵🇪 Peru25.46
98🇨🇺 Cuba25.21
99🇸🇻 El Salvador25.17
100🇪🇨 Ecuador24.98
101🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan24.95
102🇪🇬 Egypt24.48
103🇦🇴 Angola23.98
104🇰🇭 Cambodia23.71
105🇳🇬 Nigeria23.59
106🇪🇹 Ethiopia23.19
107🇧🇴 Bolivia23.17
108🇲🇳 Mongolia23.11
109🇭🇹 Haiti22.52
110🇸🇳 Senegal22.48
111🇰🇪 Kenya22.22
112🇮🇩 Indonesia21.96
113🇨🇱 Chile21.28
114🇳🇵 Nepal20.9
115🇵🇾 Paraguay20.8
116🇳🇦 Namibia20.74
117🇲🇿 Mozambique20.55
118🇵🇦 Panama20.44
119🇸🇾 Syria20.09
120🇵🇰 Pakistan19.79
121🇺🇬 Uganda18.97
122🇺🇿 Uzbekistan18.92
123🇨🇴 Colombia18.67
124🇧🇾 Belarus18.66
125🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire18.37
126🇮🇳 India17.96
127🇩🇿 Algeria17.31
128🇱🇾 Libya17.22
129🇿🇲 Zambia16.05
130🇱🇰 Sri Lanka16.02
131🇹🇯 Tajikistan15.7
132🇸🇩 Sudan15.66
133🇹🇿 Tanzania14.48
134🇸🇴 Somalia14.23
135🇿🇼 Zimbabwe13.71
136🇬🇭 Ghana13.17
137🇧🇩 Bangladesh12.92
138🇵🇸 Palestine8.11
139🇻🇪 Venezuela7.41
140🇦🇫 Afghanistan7.07

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is first on the list, with a download speed of 195.5 mbps. Not only is mobile data fast in the UAE, it’s also relatively cheap, compared to other countries on the ranking. The average cost of 1 GB of data in the UAE is around $3.78, while in South Korea (#2 on the list) it’s $10.94.

The Future is 5G

Innovation and new technologies are changing the digital landscape, and things like 5G networks are becoming more mainstream across the globe.

Because of the rapidly changing nature of this industry, the data behind this ranking is updated monthly to provide the latest look at internet speeds across the globe.

This means the bar is gradually raising when it comes to internet speed, as faster, stronger internet connections become the norm. And countries that aren’t equipped to handle these souped-up networks will lag behind even further.

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Ranked: Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During the First Half of 2021

Big Tech is worth trillions, but what are insiders doing with their stock? We breakdown Big Tech CEO insider trading during the first half of 2021.

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Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During The First Half of 2021

When CEOs of major companies are selling their shares, investors can’t help but notice.

After all, these decisions have a direct effect on the personal wealth of these insiders, which can say plenty about their convictions with respect to the future direction of the companies they run.

Considering that Big Tech stocks are some of the most popular holdings in today’s portfolios, and are backed by a collective $5.3 trillion in institutional investment, how do the CEOs of these organizations rank by their insider selling?

CEOStockShares Sold H1 2021Value of Shares ($M)
Jeff BezosAmazon (AMZN)2.0 million$6,600
Mark ZuckerbergFacebook (FB)7.1 million$2,200
Satya NadellaMicrosoft (MSFT)278,694
$65
Sundar PichaiGoogle (GOOGL)27,000$62
Tim CookApple (AAPL)0$0

Breaking Down Insider Trading, by CEO

Let’s dive into the insider trading activity of each Big Tech CEO:

Jeff Bezos

During the first half of 2021, Jeff Bezos sold 2 million shares of Amazon worth $6.6 billion.

This activity was spread across 15 different transactions, representing an average of $440 million per transaction. Altogether, this ranks him first by CEO insider selling, by total dollar proceeds. Bezos’s time as CEO of Amazon came to an end shortly after the half way mark for the year.

Mark Zuckerberg

In second place is Mark Zuckerberg, who has been significantly busier selling than the rest.

In the first half of 2021, he unloaded 7.1 million shares of Facebook onto the open market, worth $2.2 billion. What makes these transactions interesting is the sheer quantity of them, as he sold on 136 out of 180 days. On average, that’s $12 million worth of stock sold every day.

Zuckerberg’s record year of selling in 2018 resulted in over $5 billion worth of stock sold, but over 90% of his net worth still remains in the company.

Satya Nadella

Next is Satya Nadella, who sold 278,694 shares of Microsoft, worth $234 million. Despite this, the Microsoft CEO still holds an estimated 1.6 million shares, which is the largest of any insider.

Microsoft’s stock has been on a tear for a number of years now, and belongs to an elite trillion dollar club, which consists of only six public companies.

Sundar Pichai

Fourth on the list is Sundar Pichai who has been at the helm at Google for six years now. Since the start of 2021, he’s sold 27,000 shares through nine separate transactions, worth $62.5 million. However, Pichai still has an estimated 6,407 Class A and 114,861 Class C shares.

Google is closing in on a $2 trillion valuation and is the best performing Big Tech stock, with shares rising 60% year-to-date. Their market share growth from U.S. ad revenues is a large contributing factor.

Tim Cook

Last, is Tim Cook, who just surpassed a decade as Apple CEO.

During this time, shares have rallied over 1,000% and annual sales have gone from $100 billion to $347 billion. That said, Cook has sold 0 shares of Apple during the first half of 2021. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t sold shares elsewhere, though. Cook also sits on the board of directors for Nike, and has sold $6.9 million worth of shares this year.

Measuring Insider Selling

All things equal, it’s desirable for management to have skin in the game, and be invested alongside shareholders. It can also be seen as aligning long-term interests.

A good measure of insider selling activity is in relation to the existing stake in the company. For example, selling $6.6 billion worth of shares may sound like a lot, but when there are 51.7 million Amazon shares remaining for Jeff Bezos, it actually represents a small portion and is probably not cause for panic.

If, however, executives are disclosing large transactions relative to their total stakes, it might be worth digging deeper.

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