Massive global uptake will see one-quarter of the world’s population using the internet by 2012, according to one industry expert.

A report by JupiterResearch asserts that 1.8 billion people will be regularly using the internet within the next four years.

It attributes this growth to the increasing popularity of the web in emerging nations such as Russia, China and India, whose online populations, it claims, will rise at "double-digit rates" during the next five years.

The research firm adds that the online penetration in these countries will not be as high as that of more developed nations.

However, Vikram Seghal, research director for JupiterResearch and the author of the report, notes: "JupiterResearch believes that they will ramp up the learning curve in adopting sophisticated online activities compared to the developing countries."

Meanwhile, recent research published by comScore highlighted that, in May alone, Americans conducted 10.8 billion internet searches, with Google accounting for 61.8 per cent of these.

Analysis from the company showed that the search engine had increased its market share slightly, from 61.6 per cent the previous month.