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Internet Lesson 2

How is the Internet Used?

The World Wide Web (WWW)
When most people think of the Internet, the first thing they think about is the World Wide Web. Nowadays, the terms "Internet" and "World Wide Web" are often used interchangeably—but they're actually not the same thing.

The Internet is the physical network of computers all over the world.

The World Wide Web is a virtual network of web sites connected by hyperlinks (or "links"). Web sites are stored on servers on the Internet, so the World Wide Web is a part of the Internet.

The backbone of the World Wide Web is HTML files, which are specially-formatted documents that can contain links, as well as images and other media. All web browsers can read HTML files.

As the Internet has grown, it has developed into a multifaceted tool with a vast range of uses. It's now easy to keep in touch with friends, publish your own articles, or even watch your favorite TV shows using the Internet.

We'll talk about some of the ways the Internet is used today, including blogs, social networking, instant messaging, VoIP, and media.

HTML code


To get to a web page, you can type the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) in a browser. The URL, also known as the web address, tells the browser exactly where to find the page. However, most of the time, people get to a web page by following a link from a different page or by searching for the page with a search engine.

The World Wide Web was created in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a software engineer. Before then, computers could communicate over the Internet, but there were no web pages.

Using the Internet to Communicate With a Web Browser

The World Wide Web began as a sort of library of information which was best suited for learning and research. In other words, most people used the web for just reading information.

Today, the average user has the ability to shape the web by adding to it.

Blogs allow anyone to be a writer or journalist. With sites like blogger.com, you can create a blog for free and add your thoughts to it whenever you want. You don't need to know HTML to create a blog—the technical stuff has already been created for you.



An example of a blog

Many web sites are used as a means for staying in touch with friends, family, and business contacts. This is known as social networking. With sites like Facebook and MySpace, you can create an online profile with information about yourself, as well as pictures and videos. You can send notes to your friends, receive reminders about your friends' birthdays, and more.

Facebook allows you to post your thoughts

Communication over the Internet is not limited to web browsers. Instant messaging programs allow you to
have conversations with your friends or just write them a quick note.

Instant Messaging

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), allows you to have telephone service through an Internet connection.
Some VoIP programs, such as Skype, can also do video conferencing.

Using a video conferencing program
Web browsers are increasingly becoming "all-in-one" programs. So you might do Instant messaging or video conferencing within a browser.

Media on the Internet

TV, radio, and the Internet used to be completely separate things, but that's no longer true with today's technology. You can now watch TV shows on your computer, and you can connect to the Internet on many TVs and DVD/BluRay players. In addition, you can listen to online radio from all over the world, thus granting you greater access to a more diverse range of media.

Streaming Media

TV and radio on the Internet are examples of streaming media, which means the media downloads while it's playing so you don't have to wait for it to download first.

Not all media is streaming. If you've ever bought music on the iTunes store, you probably had to wait for it to download before you could listen to it.

Media Players and Embedded Media

Media is often embedded in a web page, which means that it plays within the web browser. Other times, you'll use a separate program called a media player to play it. Examples include Windows Media Player and iTunes. An iPod contains built-in media player software that can play various types of files.

Using the Internet in the Future

The Internet is always changing, and the ways in which we access it will also continue to change. Current trends will become more common and integrated into our everyday lives. In addition, we'll see many technologies and devices in the future that will allow us to use the Internet in new and exciting ways.