According to a recent Nielsen-Netratings.com release, over 3/4 of all U.S. home Internet users connected at broadband speeds during November, 2006.
That figure increased 13%, up from 65%, just one year ago. This increasingly widespread adoption of broadband access means that American's with internet access spend more time online than ever before, especially compared to dial-up users. So, what do people do with all this extra connection horsepower? Though the following represent a seemingly diverse range of activities, they all contain a common thread: they allow people to connect with other people. Online Gaming - According to the Nielsen report, users spend the most time with online gaming in connection with sites like Pogo.com or EA.
com. Pogo.com allows users to play games directly on their site through a web browser, while EA.com's services allow users to find, sort, and connect through 3rd party servers for games like "Battlefield 2142." Online gaming blew away all other online broadband activities for total time spent per user and the percentage of people playing who operate with high-speed connections. Instant Messaging - Ok, AOL's Instant Messaging service rated one of the most popular even before widespread broadband.
However, broadband enabled additional services like audio (voice over IP) and video to jump on the instant messaging bandwagon - as seen with the explosion of Skype.com. I guess the power of broadband and video chat came home to me during the birth of my grandson. I sat in the hospital waiting room with my laptop, logged on to the wireless network in the hospital, and had a business meeting via Skype's video chat.
When I finished it hit me that we really do live in an age where the things we saw on the "Jetsons" might come to pass. Social Networking - If you connect to the Internet, you know the words "My Space!" Well, apparently a lot of people use the site too since it ranks #4 on the list of broadband activities. Again, the theme of "connecting with others" basically serves as the entire purpose for MySpace.
com's existence. I've witnessed firsthand the power of My Space to allow people to connect with others by watching my business partner's teenage son use the site to actually meet girls. I expect to see even more specialized versions of social networking sites to continue emerging in the coming months. Email - Yahoo! mail and Gmail rated the highest among online email services. Both offer a huge 2 GB storage capacity, though Yahoo charges $20 a year. These services make it possible not only to connect in the most basic online way (email), but make it easy to pass huge files (viral videos, mp3's, etc.
) back and forth with ease. I've also found Gmail.com's built-in chat feature extremely convenient when I need to get in a quick word with friend's and business associates. Music and Video: The philosophy of "I want my MTV" spilled over into the online world. MP3 download site iTunes rates one of the most popular sites in the world and my mom even knows about "viral videos!" Of all the online activities, this one still needs to define itself more fully, but based on the amount of time spent by surfers, there's no lack of interest. Copyright (c) 2007 Jim Edwards.
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