December 13, 2018

Mind-Boggling Big Data

Remember when caller ID was introduced?

Finally, we could know who was calling and choose to accept or ignore the call. If we rang a shop, they could know what we last purchased, and greet us by name (creepy!).

My father-in-law was furious about the invasion into his privacy and hurriedly suppressed his number. “I don’t want people knowing all about me“, he said.

How things have progressed. Now, Google and Microsoft know everything about us from our touches with technology – even the microphone in your mobile phone tells anybody who pays Zuckerberg enough money what you talk about and where your interests lie so you can be directly marketed to.

Enter The World of BIG DATA

Big Data is a phrase used to mean a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large it is difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques.

Big data - 4V visualisationIn most enterprise scenarios the volume of data is too big, or it moves too fast, or it exceeds current processing capacity.

It’s growing exponentially. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day at our current pace. I don’t even know how much that is! But 90% of it was generated in the last two years alone!

I found some mind-boggling stats to help illustrate some of the ways we create these colossal amounts of data every single day.


Mobile search


  • We conduct more than half of our web searches from a mobile phone.
  • More than 3.8 billion humans use the internet – that’s half the planet.
  • Google processes more than 40,000 searches every second (3.5 billion searches per day). Other search engines add another 1.5 billion searches per day.


Social Media

Social media

  • Snapchat users share 3.5 billion photos a day.
  • LinkedIn has more than 500 million users.
  • Users watch 5 billion YouTube videos each day.
  • 500 million tweets are sent per day on Twitter.
  • Instagram users post 50 thousand photos per minute.
  • Facebook is still the largest social media platform with 2.3 billion active users – almost a third of the world’s population – posting more than half a million comments every minute.


Email chatCommunication

  • Every minute:
  • We send 16 million text messages.
  • We swipe left or right one million times (not me!)
  • We send 204 million emails to 3.8 billion email users.


Digital photos on social mediaDigital Photos

  • Every day, we upload over 200 million photos to Facebook and 1.2 billion photos to Google Photos.
  • We took a collective 1.2 trillion photos in 2017.
  • There are around 5 trillion photos currently stored in “the cloud”




Every minute:

  • The Weather Channel receives 18 million forecast requests
  • Spotify adds 13 new songs
  • Uber riders take 50 thousand trips!


Internet of Things

Internet of Things devices connected

Connected “smart” devices have increased from 2 billion devices in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020.

Just one type of device, voice search (Google Home, Amazon Echo), is used by 8 million people every month and like all other data stats is growing exponentially.




Christmas is coming. Religious or not, it’s a time when we can (hopefully) ease back from the hurried daily life we’re all consumed by, and get seriously connected, in a non-data-gathering way, with our families and friends.

Text less. Talk more. Put the phone away.

Even still, we’ll be taking heaps of digital photos and uploading them from our phones.

We’ll be streaming music from Spotify and other services.

And we’ll kick back and watch the Grinch on Netflix.

We can’t escape the data!


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