Thursday, September 29, 2011

13 Going on 60

Tech giant Google was born 13 years ago this week, in the burgeoning late 90s economy and “tech boom” that took the digital world by storm. This nation’s millions of 47-65 year-olds born in the “baby boom” era have now done the same. According to a report on, baby boomers now make up nearly 30% of total internet users. Add that to the fact that they are responsible for over half of consumer spending and you have an impact you cannot ignore.

            “Boomers” represent 80% of all leisure travel by Americans. A Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research survey found that the typical person 55 and over is dining out 51 times a year. Earlier this month, Google bought Zagat, the popular restaurant review guide that has grown to include hotels and shopping. Google plans to incorporate it into its maps and search. Bringing new features into its web products while keeping them intuitive for a wide range of users is something they have done for over a decade. Possibly without realizing it, Google and other companies have made the internet more accessible to baby boomers.

            In the last two years, the number of baby boomers on social networks has grown by 60%. They are not just using Facebook and Twitter; they are joining sites like, a social network for people over 60. Studies have shown that having close social circles helps extend life. With more seniors and baby boomers becoming active on the internet, fewer of them will lose touch with friends.

Google might just be 13, but as it ages, it has to continue adapting to the trend of baby boomers using the internet. Much of the innovation online has been aimed at younger users, but there is a sizeable group of older internet users that can gain a lot from it all.