The Internet and World Wide Web are fantastic mediums to broadcast messages across the globe using just a desktop computer, smartphone, Xbox or any other device connected to the Internet. The World Wide Web consists of billions of pages of content in different formats, linked through hyperlinks. You can send and receive information on the Internet through instant messages, email or file sharing. You can also tap into valuable information through FTP file access and streaming video and media.
Why Do We Use ‘Internet’ and ‘Web’ Interchangeably for Computer Networks?
Millions of devices connected in the form of wireless and wired networks together form the Internet. The Internet was conceived in the 1990s as a military experiment and gradually expanded to become a free platform for broadcast for the general public.
The Internet or the content exchanged over the network is not owned or controlled by any single authority. Users connect to the Internet through an ISP subscription plan. Public Wi-Fi networks and business networks also enable you to connect to the Internet.
Readable and accessible content that forms part of the Web came into being in the year 1989. Around this period, the World Wide Web grew in size with billions of web pages designed and published in HTML.
Other terms used to refer to the ‘World Wide Web’ include the Invisible Web, Web 1.0 or Web 2.0. Even though the Web and the Internet are distinct terms, the former referring to the content and the latter to the hardware, as explained above, most users use the terms interchangeably.
A Brief about Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and the Invisible Web
The Web, launched by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, existed as simple text and graphics, online brochures, and broadcast content. Static content during this period assumed the term Web 1.0. Even today, the millions of static pages spread all over the Web can be collectively referred to as Web 1.0.
As time passed, the ‘Web’ became a channel for interactive services, roughly after the late 1990s. Online software services targeted at consumers began to replace static brochures. The Web became a source of accomplishing a number of value-added tasks including video gaming, dating, online banking, stock trading, financial planning, and image editing.
Web users began to share videos and exchange webmail extensively by the year 2000 as part of Web 2.0. The Web received further impetus from social networking websites like Facebook, Digg, and Flikr. E-commerce giants including eBay and the Google search engine further supported creation and dissemination of quality content.
A large part of the Web 2.0 content is not accessible publicly. These billions of web pages consisting of private and confidential information are unavailable through regular search engines and form part of the Invisible Web.
Your personal emails, certain job postings, personal bank statements and web pages generated automatically from specialized data stores, are all unavailable from regular search engines. They require specialized search engines and authorization mechanisms for access.
A significant portion of Internet activity also forms part of the ‘Darknet’ or the ‘Dark Web’ which is a collection of encrypted websites that conceal the identity of the information owners. Such attempts to conceal information exist either in the case of information related to the black market and illicit trade or for people trying to counteract the activity of oppressive governments and dishonest corporations.
Commonly Used Internet Terms for Beginners
First-time Internet users must be aware of certain terms beforehand to take advantage of the full potential of the World Wide Web. These terms are about effective information discovery, messaging, and social networking as explained below.
- Web Browser – A browser like Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome is the best tool to access and explore information through web pages. Every browser has a unique feature set to meet the requirements of Internet users.
- Laptops and Smartphones – The Internet user on-the-go usually needs a laptop, a smartphone or a netbook to access the Internet. These devices serve as indispensable tools for convenient access to the mobile Internet while at a library, during travel, or at a coffee shop. All that you require when accessing information on the mobile Internet is basic knowledge of hardware and networking.
- Email – Users exchange messages accompanied by attachments through email over the Internet. Email has largely replaced paper-based messages and acts as a good medium for retaining a complete trail of personal or business conversations.
- Instant Messaging – Email combined with chat through Instant Messaging platforms serves a multitude of purposes for business and social communication. Instant messaging can be a source of distraction in certain office settings. Nevertheless, it is a seamless communication tool.
- Social Networks – Friendly social communications are made possible through social media. Online services available through social networking websites allow users to become part of groups and exchange greetings and messages with their friends or other group members. Social networking is a source of motivation and fun and enables users to exchange information on a wide variety of interests. However, social networking cannot replace face-to-face communication.
- Internet Search Engines – The Web is an extensive collection of web pages with valuable content. Search engines like Yahoo and Google help find the most relevant content on the World Wide Web. However, the right search terms supplied by users provide access to the right kind of information available on the Internet.