The Internet is just like the Universe
While many argue the origins of the universe (big bang vs. a higher power etc) the beginnings of the Internet are more closely documented (helped by the fact it was created and observed by mankind), yet the two seemingly incomparable things can be compared.
Stars, Planets and Moons are Sites
Using this imagery you will begin to understand what I mean when I make the link between the two. No one claims to know the exact number of sites on the internet - Eric Schmidt made a guess of 5million terabytes of sites exist (claiming Google has only managed to index 170tb so far). So clearly the number of sites is as uncountable as the stars in the sky. The number of stars in the sky is another figure people guess at a lot, with values ranging from 3 thousand million billion stars in the universe, while NASA commented there are "zillions" of uncountable stars. So there's similarity between the two as far as calculating their size goes.
Image taken from http://www.ethicalmedia.com
It's common knowledge that the universe is expanding, as is the Internet. The "boom" is back on and with it being increasingly easy to establish a web presence for companies right down to average Joe user, it means that the world is moving more and more online. Content is being created faster than it can be counted, mirroring the expansion of the universe.
Image taken from http://science.hq.nasa.gov/universe/images/ngc300.jpg
But the Universe is infinite?
Or so theories suggest - but surely there's only a finite amount of space available for the Internet to take up? Well, sort of but if you take into account the advance of hardware then this reflects a near infinite room for expansion... Storage devices are becoming cheaper with larger capacities, thus allowing for an increase to the theoretical size of the Internet. Technically there must be a point where a limit is reached on current technology, where drives cannot get any larger - then I assume another piece of technology will be developed to continue. It's unlikely that the Internet will continue it's growth at current rates, but whether it will accelerate or throw the brakes on is not a guess I could make with any authority. At a guess, it will only continue to grow for the near future - with third world countries being supplied the $100 laptop will create a whole realm of more tech-savvy people, many of them with a voice and the internet is the perfect platform.
Exploration of the Universe
Well mankind has only got as far as exploring the closest elements of the solar system and I suppose you can relate this to the internet in that a very small percentage are visited, while the rest of the galaxy represents the "long tail". There are initiatives established for exploration of both, StumbleUpon I suppose being a good example - like a temporal drive of sorts that punts you onto a random body in space/the Internet for your viewing pleasure. Some are pleasant; others are violent ice planets that you don't intend on visiting again... Maybe a bit abstract for a Friday but I feel there's a basis for comparison here.
Enjoy this article? Why not subscribe to the full RSS feed?