The biggest names across three online categories – social media, e-commerce and search – all experienced significant milestones this year, confirming their positions as not only the most dominant, but the most innovative and forward-thinking players in their fields.
And, with 3.2 billion people using the internet across the globe in 2015, there's never been a better time to possess a significant stranglehold on various parts of the web.
In late August, social networking mammoth Facebook clocked up more than one billion users in a single day (for the first time ever), a figure that's equivalent to 1 in 7 people on Earth.
This wasn't a fluky occurrence either, as the company went on to record an average of 1.01 billion daily users across September (interestingly, this figure included 894 million mobile users).
Social media consultant Andrew Hutchison points out that daily, as opposed to less frequent users, are “largely more indicative of the platform’s position”, because “the more people relying on Facebook daily and spending more time on the platform, the better it is for Facebook over the long term”.
“The numbers are also a great endorsement of Facebook’s handling of new feature roll-outs and updates, which they’ve been able to do seamlessly and without alienating their user base,” he says.
Twenty-year-old e-commerce trailblazer Amazon created history this year by overtaking 'hypermarket' chain Walmart to become the most valuable retail company on the planet (in terms of market capitalisation).
While Walmart’s revenue remained much larger (about five times larger), Amazon’s revenue per employee ($623,000) was nearly three times that of Walmart.
“It’s not just that Amazon is soaring this year while Walmart is sinking,” technology commentator Kevin Kelleher wrote on the Time magazine website. “It’s that one of them is a prized growth company and the other an aging, struggling giant that is paying billions a year in dividends to keep investors from selling.”
“Put in retail terms, Amazon is the high-end product that people are willing to pay a crazy premium for, while Walmart is now something you might find in the bargain bin.”
Already leading its field by such a margin that it's name is synonymous with internet search, (the worldwide market share of Google in April 2015 was 88.44 percent ) Google continued to up its own ante this year regardless.
Google surprised the zeitgeist in August with a total rebrand, unveiling a more colourful logo that changes depending on whether the user is undergoing a desktop, voice or mobile search.
“These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices – sometimes all in a single day,” Tamar Yehoshua, VP, product management and Bobby Nath, director of user experience commented.
“As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).”