from the it's-a-wide-wide-world-wide-web dept
To hear many people talk about things, the entire internet these days is controlled by just a few companies, mainly Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Depending on who you’re talking to, you may hear them throw in companies like Netflix. But some of us keep pointing out that while those guys are big, that doesn’t mean the rest of the internet stops existing. And it’s still incredibly large. If you want this point really driven home, check out this amazing map of the 2021 internet by Martin Vargic (first spotted via Fast Company).
Here’s a thumbnail version, but you really should go check out the full size version on Martin’s website (or, better yet, buy some prints of the whole thing).
Just the fact that looking at this smaller version above it’s nearly impossible to read what most of the “countries” are should give you just a taste of how vast the non-big-tech part of the world wide web really is. There’s a lot of “land” out there that isn’t controlled by the big players, and we should be celebrating that. On his website he’s got a few zoomed in examples as well, including the part that is my favorite: “Protocol Ocean.”
Now some may quibble with various aspects of this. It’s based on Alexa data, which isn’t the most reliable, and it’s only covering web traffic, which likely misses a lot of activity that is purely mobile these days. But still, when laid out this way, you really begin to get a sense of the diversity of the web.
The other thing that really stands out for me is that this is an updated map by Vargic. He last produced a map of the internet in 2014 and it looks strikingly different. It seems like a strong visual reminder of just how much the internet keeps changing, even in the fairly short time frame of seven years.
There seems to be this belief among some that the internet has been more or less stuck in place since 2010 when Google, Facebook, and Amazon divided the land between them and wiped the rest of the web off the map. But that was never true, and these maps really drive that point home in a very visual manner.
For what it’s worth, if you love getting lost looking at maps like I do, Vargic’s entire page is fascinatingly full of maps he’s created, many of which explore aspects of actual geography, and plenty of others (like the internet maps) that explore other concepts in map form.