Video games accounted for most of the bandwidth, but watching TV consumed most of the time.
Americans on average consumed 34 GB of non-work-related data each day in 2008, with computer games accounting for the majority of all the bytes used, a university study found.
Based on bytes alone, games accounted for 18.5 GB, or 67% of all bytes consumed, the University of California, San Diego, found. Researchers found that 80% of the population plays some kind of computer game, including casual games.
In terms of actual time, 41% of information time is spent watching TV, including DVDs, recorded TV, and real-time watching. On mobile devices alone, U.S. consumers watch a total of 36 million hours of television each month, which is only a fraction of the hours spent watching TV at home, the report said.
Second to TV was the Internet. Americans in 2008 spent 16% of their information hours using the Internet. The proliferation of e-mail, instant messaging, and social networking has made the Internet the dominant force in two-way communications.
Despite rapid growth, new media, such as YouTube videos, text messaging, or games on smartphones, was outpaced by traditional media.
"There are several hundred million TV sets in the U.S., and depending on whom you ask, about 50 million smartphones," report co-author James Short, research director of the Global Information Industry Center, said in a university statement. "And new media devices are increasingly personal devices -- mobile phones, Kindles, and handheld gaming devices -- with small screens and relatively low resolution, limiting the number of bytes consumed."
Overall, American consumed 3.6 zettabytes of information last year, or the equivalent of the information in thick paperback novels stacked seven feet high over the entire United States, including Alaska. The study, "How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers," estimates that between 1980 and 2008, bytes consumption rose 350%, for an average annual growth rate of 5.4%.
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