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.
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:
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, 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’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.
Visualizing the Evolution of Consumer Credit
See how consumer credit has evolved through the ages — from its ancient origins, to the use of game-changing technologies like artificial intelligence.
The origin of credit dates all the way back to ancient civilizations.
The Sumerians and later the Babylonians both used consumer loans in their societies, primarily for agricultural purposes. The latter civilization even had rules about maximum lending rates engraved in the famous Code of Hammurabi.
But since then, consumer credit — and how we calculate creditworthiness — has gotten increasingly sophisticated. This is so much the case that technology now used in modern credit scoring would seem completely alien to people living just a few decades ago.
Video: Consumer Credit Through the Ages
Today’s motion graphic video is powered by Equifax, and it shows the evolution of consumer credit over the last 5,000 years.
The video highlights how consumer credit has worked both in the past and in the present. It also dives into the technologies that will be shaping the future of credit, including artificial intelligence and the blockchain.
A Brief History of Credit
We previously visualized the 5,000-year history of consumer credit, and how it dramatically changed over many centuries and societies.
What may have started as agricultural loans in Sumer and Babylon eventually became more ingrained in Ancient Roman society. In the year 50 B.C., for example, Cicero documented a transaction that occurred, and wrote “nomina facit, negotium conficit” — or, “he uses credit to complete the purchase”.
Modern consumer credit itself was born in England in 1803, when a group of English tailors came together to swap information on customers that failed to settle their debts. Eventually, extensive credit lists of customers started being compiled, with lending really booming in the 20th century as consumers started buying big ticket items like cars and appliances.
Later, the innovation of credit cards came about, and in the 1980s, modern credit scoring was introduced.
The Present and Future of Credit
The modern numeric credit score came about in 1989, and it uses logistic regression to assess five categories related to a consumer’s creditworthiness: payment history, debt burden, length of credit history, types of credit used, and new credit requests.
However, in the current era of big data and emerging technologies, companies are now finding new ways to advance credit models — and how these change will affect how consumers get credit in the future.
Consumer credit is already changing thanks to new methods such as trended data and alternative data. These both look at the bigger picture beyond traditional scoring, pulling in new data sources and using predictive methods to more accurately encapsulate creditworthiness.
In general, the future of credit will be shaped by five forces:
- Growing amounts of data
- A changing regulatory landscape
- Game-changing technologies
- Focus on identity
- The fintech boom
Through these forces, new credit models will integrate artificial intelligence, neural networks, big data, and more complex statistical methods. In short, credit patterns can be more accurately predicted using mountains of data and new technologies.
Finally, the credit landscape is set to shift in other ways, as well.
Regulatory forces are pushing data to be standardized and controlled directly by consumers, enabling a range of new fintech applications to benefit consumers. Meanwhile, the industry itself will be focusing in on identity to build trust and limit fraud, using technologies such as biometrics and blockchain to prove a borrower’s identity.
Ranking the Top 100 Websites in the World
The top 100 websites ranking reveals how people around the world search for information, which services they use, and how they spend time online.
As a greater portion of the world begins to live more of their life online, the world’s top 100 websites continue to see explosive growth in their traffic numbers.
To claim even the 100th spot in this ranking, your website would need around 350 million visits in a single month. Using data from SimilarWeb, we’ve visually mapped out the top 100 biggest websites on the internet. Examining the ranking reveals a lot about how people around the world search for information, which services they use, and how they spend time online.
Note: This is a ranking of biggest websites, specifically. Brands that extend across platforms or serve the majority of their users through an app will not necessarily rank well on this list. As a result, you’ll notice the absence of companies like WeChat and Snapchat.
The Top 100 Websites
The 100 biggest websites generated a staggering 206 billion visits in June 2019. Google, YouTube, and Facebook took the top spots, followed by Baidu and Wikipedia. Below is the full ranking:
|Global Rank||Domain||Monthly visits (billions)||Parent||Country|
|1||Google.com||60.49||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|2||Youtube.com||24.31||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|3||Facebook.com||19.98||Facebook, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|4||Baidu.com||9.77||Baidu, Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|5||Wikipedia.org||4.69||Wikimedia Foundation||🇺🇸 United States|
|6||Twitter.com||3.92||Twitter, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|7||Yahoo.com||3.74||Verizon Comm. Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|9||Instagram.com||3.21||Facebook, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|10||xvideos.com||3.19||WGCZ Holding||🇨🇿 Czech Republic|
|12||ampproject.org||2.76||N/A||🇺🇸 United States|
|13||xnxx.com||2.47||WGCZ Holding||🇨🇿 Czech Republic|
|14||amazon.com||2.41||Amazon.com, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|15||live.com||2.25||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|16||vk.com||2.16||Mail.ru Group||🇷🇺 Russia|
|17||netflix.com||1.81||Netflix, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|19||whatsapp.com||1.76||Facebook, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|20||mail.ru||1.64||Mail.ru Group||🇷🇺 Russia|
|21||Reddit.com||1.55||Advance Publications||🇺🇸 United States|
|22||yahoo.co.jp||1.5||Verizon Comm. Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|23||google.com.br||1.38||Alphabet Inc||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|24||bing.com||1.32||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|25||ok.ru||1.08||Mail.ru Group||🇷🇺 Russia|
|26||xhamster.com||1.06||Hammy Media Ltd||🇨🇾 Cyprus|
|27||sogou.com||1||Tencent, Sohu Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|28||ebay.com||0.95||eBay Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|29||bit.ly||0.95||Spectrum Equity||🇺🇸 United States|
|30||twitch.tv||0.91||Amazon.com, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|31||linkedin.com||0.91||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|32||samsung.com||0.89||Samsung Group||🇰🇷 South Korea|
|33||sm.cn||0.81||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|34||msn.com||0.8||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|35||office.com||0.79||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|36||globo.com||0.74||Grupo Globo||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|37||taobao.com||0.74||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|38||pinterest.com||0.74||Pinterest, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|39||google.de||0.73||Alphabet Inc||🇩🇪 Germany|
|40||Microsoft.com||0.72||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|41||accuweather.com||0.71||AccuWeather Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|42||naver.com||0.64||Naver Corporation||🇰🇷 South Korea|
|43||aliexpress.com||0.64||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|44||fandom.com||0.61||Wikia Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|45||quora.com||0.58||Quora Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|46||github.com||0.57||Microsoft Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|47||imdb.com||0.57||Amazon.com, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|48||uol.com.br||0.56||Grupo Folha||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|49||docomo.ne.jp||0.56||Tata Teleservices||🇯🇵 Japan|
|51||bbc.co.uk||0.55||Public owned||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|53||paypal.com||0.53||Paypal||🇺🇸 United States|
|54||google.fr||0.53||Alphabet Inc||🇫🇷 France|
|55||yidianzixun.com||0.51||Particle Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|56||wordpress.com||0.51||Automattic||🇺🇸 United States|
|57||news.google.com||0.51||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|59||duckduckgo.com||0.51||Duck Duck Go, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|60||google.co.uk||0.51||Alphabet Inc||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|61||10086.cn||0.5||China Mobile||🇨🇳 China|
|62||iqiyi.com||0.5||Baidu, Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|63||booking.com||0.5||Booking Holdings||🇺🇸 United States|
|64||amazon.co.jp||0.49||Amazon.com, Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|65||cricbuzz.com||0.49||Times Internet||🇮🇳 India|
|66||taboola.com||0.48||Taboola Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|67||amazon.de||0.48||Amazon.com, Inc||🇩🇪 Germany|
|68||cnn.com||0.47||Turner Broadcasting||🇺🇸 United States|
|69||jd.com||0.47||Various (Tencent 20%)||🇨🇳 China|
|70||apple.com||0.47||Apple Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|71||google.it||0.45||Alphabet Inc||🇮🇹 Italy|
|72||bilibili.com||0.44||Bilibili Inc||🇨🇳 China|
|73||google.co.jp||0.44||Alphabet Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|74||livejasmin.com||0.44||Docler Group||🇱🇺 Luxembourg|
|75||tmall.com||0.44||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|76||news.yahoo.co.jp||0.44||Verizon Comm. Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|77||youtu.be||0.44||Alphabet Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|78||tribunnews.com||0.43||Kompas Gramedia Group||🇮🇩 Indonesia|
|79||amazon.co.uk||0.43||Amazon.com, Inc||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|80||chaturbate.com||0.43||Multi Media LLC||🇺🇸 United States|
|81||google.co.in||0.41||Alphabet Inc||🇮🇳 India|
|82||craigslist.org||0.41||Craigslist||🇺🇸 United States|
|83||imgur.com||0.41||Imgur Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|84||bbc.com||0.41||Public owned||🇬🇧 United Kingdom|
|85||fc2.com||0.39||FC2, Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|88||tumblr.com||0.37||Verizon||🇺🇸 United States|
|89||foxnews.com||0.36||Fox Corporation||🇺🇸 United States|
|90||rakuten.co.jp||0.36||Rakuten Inc||🇯🇵 Japan|
|91||google.es||0.36||Alphabet Inc||🇪🇸 Spain|
|92||outbrain.com||0.36||Outbrain Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
|93||discordapp.com||0.36||Various||🇺🇸 United States|
|94||amazon.in||0.35||Amazon.com, Inc||🇮🇳 India|
|96||weather.com||0.34||Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC||🇺🇸 United States|
|98||youku.com||0.34||Alibaba Group||🇨🇳 China|
|99||adobe.com||0.34||Adobe Inc||🇺🇸 United States|
Search Reigns Supreme
Search engines provide the connective tissue that binds the internet together, and they accounted for the majority of website traffic in the top 100 ranking.
Google is the undisputed top website in nearly every country in the world. In fact, Alphabet’s 11 domains in the top 100 ranking – including YouTube and a number of international versions of Google – racked up an impressive 90 billion visits in a single month.
Exceptions to Google’s dominance can be found in China (Baidu) and Russia (Yandex), where homegrown search engines have managed to capture the domestic market.
One scrappy competitor, DuckDuckGo, is slowly gaining prominence as an alternative to Google. The search engine’s focus on user privacy appears to be resonating with internet users as the site’s traffic has surpassed 500 million visits per month.
Full Stream Ahead
Video streaming and sharing is another major driver of global internet traffic.
Thanks to high-powered phones and bigger data plans, video is now a prominent portion of internet content consumption. This can take a few forms, from binge watching TV shows on Netflix to short-form video uploads on platforms like Douyin and Instagram.
Live streaming is increasingly a bigger part of the mix. Twitch, which is focused on gaming, is now ranked 30th in the world in web traffic. The Amazon-owned platform is now so popular that on any given night, its viewership surpasses many of the major U.S. cable networks.
Of course, this category also includes adult content, which is well represented in this ranking. XNXX, XVideos, and PornHub all made the top 20, and the three websites combined for over nine billion visits in the most recent month of data available.
Old Dogs, New Tricks
Classic web portals such as MSN and Yahoo are still putting up impressive traffic numbers, but major players are increasingly staying relevant by acquiring rising internet stars.
In the case of Microsoft, acquiring Github and Linkedin helped the company target new markets and grow their overall presence online. Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch proved to be a good bet, and Instagram continues to breathe new life into Facebook, which has seen a backlash focused on its original namesake social network.
The project is not without controversy though.
Critics point out that cached AMP pages – which are hosted by Google – essentially cut out content creators, and that non-compliant pages may lose their ranking on mobile search results. As the project moves towards becoming a foundation, it remains to be seen how AMP will evolve and how much involvement Google will have in the future.
The Geography of the Top 100 Websites
The internet may be a global network, but many of the gatekeepers are still located in the United States. If international domain suffixes of companies like Amazon and Google are counted, 60 of the 100 websites in the ranking are American.
Below is a breakdown of the Top 100 by country.
China is a strong runner-up, with 15 websites in the Top 100. While most of these Chinese companies are focused on the sizable domestic market, some are also making global inroads through investment. Tencent has partially backed the fast-growing chat platform, Discord, and it also has double-digit stakes in Snapchat and Spotify.
With the exception of Baidu, all of the biggest websites in the world have swelled in size by serving a global audience. As the tech market continues to mature in China, it remains to be seen whether Chinese companies can successfully move beyond the firewall to become the next Facebook or Google.
Correction: Bilibili, a website run by a Chinese company, was incorrectly identified as a Japanese company.
Markets7 months ago
The Jeff Bezos Empire in One Giant Chart
Maps9 months ago
Mercator Misconceptions: Clever Map Shows the True Size of Countries
Advertising6 months ago
Meet Generation Z: The Newest Member to the Workforce
Misc9 months ago
24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality
Advertising5 months ago
How the Tech Giants Make Their Billions
Technology8 months ago
The 20 Internet Giants That Rule the Web
Chart of the Week7 months ago
Chart: The World’s Largest 10 Economies in 2030
Environment6 months ago
The World’s 25 Largest Lakes, Side by Side