Internet users top one billion

Web users passes 1bn mark.

The number of people accessing the internet has surpassed one billion for the first time, according to new figures from internet metrics monitoring company comScore.

ComScore found that one billion users had visited web sites in the month of December - the highest number recorded to date. Although Europe wasn't the most active country, accounting for just under a third (28 per cent) of overall user numbers, compared with Asia Pacific (41 per cent) and North America (18 per cent).

"Surpassing one billion global users is a significant landmark in the history of the Internet," said Magid Abraham, comScore's president and chief executive.

"It is a monument to the increasingly unified global community in which we live and reminds us that the world truly is becoming more flat. The second billion will be online before we know it, and the third billion will arrive even faster than that, until we have a truly global network of interconnected people and ideas that transcend borders and cultural boundaries."

The most popular destination for these users is search giant Google - in its many local incarnations.

Google has some 777.9 million visitors, while the Microsoft search sites boast 647.9 million visitors. The social networking phenomenon Facebook is also enjoying growth and has seen a 127 per cent rise in usage over the past 12 months, and is now the seventh most popular site in the comScore list. In the last year, some 222 million visitors have walked through its virtual doors.

Other sites boasting high user numbers include Wikipedia, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay.