The Internet has come a long way. It’s easy to forget just how much it has changed over the years. An infographic released this week by bestedsites.com gave a reminder of just how much it has changed in the last 10 years. The standout figures are the huge surge in social media users, 3 million to 900 million in 10 years. Another was the greater variety of web browsers available, in 2002 95% of us used Internet Explorer, today that figure is down to 39%.
The changes in the way we use the Internet are of greatest interest to marketers. We need to monitor Internet usage trends so we can ensure our clients and websites continue to receive traffic. One of the things that may change over the next 10 years is how people search on the Internet. The user interface on search engines like Google haven’t changed since a time when there were only 3 million websites to search. These days there are 555 million, and there are a lot of services that offer alternative methods of finding the content you want. Let’s take a look at three of out favourites.
One of the most recent online trends is the integration of your physical location into the online experience. Sites like Foursquare and Facebook ask you to tag where you are, or automatically tag the location content was created. Hubii seeks to leverage location information in a completely different way. It’s a news website that allows you to browse news based on your location rather than particular keywords. It makes sense, the more local the news, the more relevant it is to the reader. The service offers the opportunity to view news in their location of browse world news, using a map. You just go to the location you want to read about and the latest news from publishers in that area is loaded up. It also has plenty of customization options to ensure you get the news you want.
Customization and finding content that’s relevant to you is key in a lot of these new search/browsing services and it inspired Frequency. Frequency describes itself as a video aggregator. It’s basically a video-sharing site that pulls together videos from sources all over the web and creates custom channels for you to browse. If you connect your YouTube account, you get your favourites and subscriptions viewable directly on frequency. You can also integrate your social media accounts to create a list of all videos shared by your friends and followers. You can also share videos back to social media in the usual way. Services like this are great because you browse in a way you’re familiar with but the content is much more likely to peak your interest.
3. Good Films
This service is slightly different to the other two, in that it doesn’t link you directly to online content. It does however; perform one of the things we use search engines for. Good Films is one of those great services that does exactly what it says on the tin. It helps you to find good films. A lot of us will look a film up online, or ask friends who’ve seen it before deciding to see it or not. Good Films does a lot of that work for you. Using information gained from all of its users reviews and, if linked, from your Facebook friends it provides ratings for every movie out there. It’s great for making decisions on what to see at the cinema or what to watch on a quiet Friday night. It also links to Netflix and iTunes, so you can do some watching online.
We’ve come a long way from the days of 56k modems and waiting 12 minutes to download one song. In 10 years time, how we search the Internet may well be completely different too