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The online population has exceeded one billion users, and that's not even taking into account minors or mobile web users.

comScore's World Metrix audience measurement services found the online population of peope using home or work computers to access the internet broke the benchmark one billion barrier in December.

"Surpassing one billion global users is a significant landmark in the history of the internet," commented Magid Abraham, comScore president and CEO, "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 transcends borders and cultural boundaries. "

The Asia Pacific region, with 41m users, accounts for the highest share of the market, clocking in at 41%. Europe ranks second, with 28%, followed by North America (18%); Latin America (7.4%); and the Middle East & Africa (5%).

While North America ranks third by region, the U.S. trails only China in country rankings, with 16.2% and 17.8% of users, respectively.

The UK takes trails Japan and Germany, with 36.7 million unique users.

Latin America comprises only 7.4% of the global Internet audience, but it's the region to watch in terms of growth in the near future, according to comScore analysts.

Google, visited by 77% of the worldwide audience (nearly 776m users), reigns supreme among global internet properties. Microsoft sites were used by 64.2% of worldwide users, while Yahoo sites are visited by 55.8%. AOL properties were used by 27.1% of the worldwide web audience.

Rebecca Lieb

Published 26 January, 2009 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

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