51% of the World Population Uses the Internet; The Hand That Feeds You; Google’s YouTube

Q3 | October 2019

stack of old newspapers, pile of old newspapers

Topic: Pearls of Wisdom

Devin Crago, CFA

October 1, 2019

Image used with permission: iStock/hanohiki


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51% of the World Population Uses the Internet; The Hand That Feeds You; Google’s YouTube

Q3 | October 2019

Reading is one of the principal occupations in our profession. As we digest a wide range of material, interesting ideas and surprising facts – some serious and some light-hearted – rise to the surface. We attempt to share a few of those with you in each of our issues of Nexus Notes.

51% of the world population uses the Internet

More than half the people in the world – about 3.8 billion humans – are now considered “Internet Users”. Fifty-one percent is an increase from 24% ten years ago and is illustrative of the rapid adoption of the Internet and connected devices. Use of the Internet is particularly exceptional in Asia Pacific: the region accounts for over half of these 3.8 billion Internet users. By country, China holds the largest proportion of Internet users (21% of the 3.8 billion total) followed by India (12%) and the USA (8%). (“Internet Trends 2019”, Mary Meeker – Bond, June 11, 2019.) 

The hand that feeds you

Grocery store chain Whole Foods (owned by Amazon) is experimenting with technology that could allow customers to pay by waving their hand in front of a scanner. The scanners use computer vision to analyze and identify an individual human hand. Customers will be able to scan their hands at the store and link them to their credit or debit cards. While the idea is similar to fingerprint or retina scans, the thinking is that waving a hand will be simple and hassle-free, thereby enabling Whole Foods to whisk customers through the checkout line faster than ever before. (“Amazon tests Whole Foods payment system that uses hands as ID”, New York Post, September 3, 2019.) 

Google’s YouTube: a runaway success

In 2006, Google bought YouTube for US$1.65 billion. Today, some analysts estimate it is worth $180 billion. That kind of value creation is rare and the result of extraordinary business success. There is no single measure that can sum up YouTube’s achievements. However, some of the facts and figures presented in a recent book authored by the Chief Business Officer at YouTube clearly paint the picture of just what a phenomenon the platform has become.

  • Size of viewership: More than 1.9 billion people watch YouTube each month.
  • Global reach: YouTube broadcasts reach 95% of the people on the Internet. Existing videos can be seen, and new videos can be uploaded, from just about anywhere except China which doesn’t allow YouTube.
  • Content creation: “content creators and sharers” uploaded more than 400 hours of video to YouTube per minute in 2017

(“Streampunks: YouTube and the Rebels Remaking Media”, Robert Kyncl, HarperBusiness 2017.) 

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