Next year, the world will reach an important milestone: the 50/50 moment, when half of the world’s population will be online. Thirty years after Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, it makes a huge difference in people’s lives—whether it’s the chance to access a world of information, to improve their education, develop new skills, or build new businesses.
For all the billions of people that are already online, there are billions more who aren’t benefiting from the economic potential of the world wide web, or its wider promise—the ability to exercise fundamental human rights such as access to information and free expression.
At Google, we’re working to expand both access and opportunity to people around the world. In India, for example, every month, more than 8 million people use Google’s public Wi-Fi program, Google Station, to get online and access job training material or educational resources. And around the world we’re working with Learning Equality to help them close the education gap caused by limitations in access to the internet.
Alongside this progress, advancements made in technology and the vast scale of the web present challenges, too—whether combating illegal content, preventing misuse of personal information, or ensuring that the benefits of the technology are widely shared. These challenges require thoughtful solutions, and for many years we’ve worked with governments, civil society groups, academics and our users to find the right way forward—toward a web that builds on the best in humanity and challenges the worst.
As we approach the 50/50 moment, we support the World Wide Web Foundation’s call to create a new Contract for the Web. Over the coming months, we’ll work with the World Wide Web Foundation and many other partners from government and business, as well as web users around the world, to draw up principles that protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone. We’re also backing up that commitment with a one million dollar Google.org grant to the World Wide Web Foundation so that it can continue to drive forward its important work #ForTheWeb.