Internet has gained widespread popularity in Australia in last two decades, just like in most parts of the world. From teenagers to senior citizens, everyone has discovered various use cases to suit their needs and most have their own set of favorite sites and apps. Internet is so commonplace now that internet addiction is now turning out to be a problem in most developed countries like Australia. The recent Netflix documentary 'The Social Dilemma' depicts this issue in the society very well while covering certain other aspects of the web like privacy and mental health.
Australia being a developed economy with an English-speaking highly educated population has leveraged the Internet to grow in the 21st century. A lot of economic acivity has moved online which has resulted in a growing internet economy which is thriving alongside the traditional offline economy. Traditional businesses are being compelled in a way to compete with leaner internet driven businesses and are facing a hard reality of shifting consumer behaviour. Many traditional businesses are moving online either by listing on various platforms or by creating their own online presence like social media pages, mobile apps, websites etc. Use of SaaS apps and online cloud based business software have also gained popularity among businesses of all kinds both new and old.
However many Australians complain about slower internet speeds in several parts of Australia. They blame the situation on lack of competetion in
To analyze how Australians use web, we can have a look to the most popular sites and categories in the country. The most popular sites in Australia are the top sites of US and other English-speaking countries like UK and India. Some of these sites are Google, Facebook, Reddit, Wikipedia, YouTube, Yahoo, Netflix, Amazon etc. Rankings among these top sites keep varying every month and year based on various factors.
The popular ones among the Australian origin sites are mostly news sites and government websites since most of the general category sites are from the US - the country that gave birth to the internet. These Australian sites mostly use the .au top level domain (TLD) which represents Australia on the world wide web and are mostly used by Australians.
The popular categories in 2021 include social media, news & media, online streaming services, government services, banking & finance and online shopping. After these universal categories there are plethora of categories like online dating, internet forums, blogs and also adult sites which are unevitable today.
Online games is another popular category which surprisingly is now a thing among all age groups not just kids and teenagers. Also, there are now many new online casinos in 2021 like spin paradise that one can try. Sports has also started shifting online in many virtual ways.
Australia is now home to many globally popular products like Canva which has hundreds of millions of users from hundred plus countries and the site is now ranked among top 100 globalls according to internet analytics and insights provider Alexa (an Amazon company) and SimilarWeb. Talking about the startup ecosystem will be incomplete without mentioning Atlassian - a tech company founded in 2002 which makes tools for developers and software engineers. It now has over 5000 employees and billions of dollars in revenue. It's also listed on NASDAQ making it perhaps the most popular and successful startup to come out of Australia. With a growing startup ecosystem in Australia, we can further expect deeper penetration of internet in people’s lives and will see many traditional businesses and shops move online.
Other than these sites, apps, products and startups the internet gig economy is also now a big part of the internet economy. These large platforms have given rise to gig based careers like social media influencers, YouTubers, freelancers etc. These are new age careers they never even existed before the internet. Infact most of these careers are hardly a decade old.
The interenet in Austaralia like in every part of the world has also played a key role in management of COVID-19 pandemic and keeping the society operational during the pandemic. People ordered goods and groceries online as shops were shut down due to lockdowns. Students were offered online classes to continue their education. Please were locked up in their homes and could communicate with friends and family only using the internet through video calls and texting. Employeers of most businesses were given remote work whenever and whereever possible. It is hard to imagine what the situtaion would have been if there was no internet during the pandemic.
With such deep penetration of the web into people's lives, internet and the internet economy has also become a matter of debate in the Australian Parliament. Recently, the Australian government proposed a law last year that would require companies like Google and Facebook to pay to link to news stories. However, Google was not okay with this new law and recently a yellow warning sign appeared under the search bar in Australia that linked to an open letter from Google Australia’s managing director, Mel Silvia. They are threatening to shut down Google search from the country if the proposed law takes effect. The Australian law would force Google to pay for links to news sites, not for the content of the articles. The path forward is not entirely clear now. These rules appear to be in defiance of net neutrality, the idea that the internet is a level playing field. Many different sets of rules are likely to be rolled out across the globe, with Australia and France perhaps only early forerunners of a larger movement.
By analyzing the past and witnessing the present scenario, one can firmly conclude that the internet's future is going to be exciting in Australia with technologies like IoT, AI/ML, AR/VR on the horizon. The COVID-19 pandemic was surely a reason for faster and depeer penetration of interenet services in people's lives and will continue to do so for the forseeable future amidst the pandemic since it will take a few years to eliminate COVID-19 from the world completely. People, companies as well as the Government all have realized the importance of internet in today's world.