Uses of the Internet

The Internet and Browsers

A History of the Internet by Decade

  • 1960s: The first instance of a wide-area network was created by Lawrence Roberts and Thomas Merrill. Roberts published a plan for ARPANET, a large wide-area network. Four computers connected via ARPANET, three in California, and one in Utah. The network had a speed of 50 kbps.
  • 1970s: Electronic mail and Ethernet were created and ARPANET’s networking protocol (NCP) was replaced by TCP/IP (which we still use today). Satellites were used for the first time to expand the ARPANET. Usenet, a protocol for Unix computers, was created. By the end of the 1970s, there were over 100 computers on the network.
  • 1980s: Many more computers joined ARPANET (up to 200,000), and more networks were created. The National Science Foundation created CSNET (Computer Science Network) for conducting scientific research, and in 1981 these two networks were able to communicate with each other. DNS was created soon after, making computer connections much easier to establish by letting users input site names rather than IP addresses. MILNET was created so the military could have their own network, and NSFNET was set up for the National Science Foundation. Network speed was increased to 1.5 Mbps.
  • 1990s: Network speed increased to 45 Mbps, and CSNET was taken out of service. NREN (National Research and Education Network) was created for the research of high speed networking. The World Wide Web was introduced to the public after about 3 years of development (1989-1991). The first major search engine, Yahoo!, was created.

Web Browsers

Browsers first appeared in the 90s, making web sites easier to view and navigate. As the years went on, they were developed and updated with security and customization in mind. Control and interaction with browsers is easier than ever and users can now edit even the smallest details of their browsers. Privacy has become an important issue and with add-ons and extensions available, the users can gain as much or as little privacy management as they please.

Mosaic: This was the first browser, and for the first time allowed a web “page” to be viewed, whereas before, each piece of media had to be opened in a new window or as a separate file. As Mosaic became more and more popular, it eventually was turned into Netscape, and was the most widely used browser until the mid 90s.

New SVG imageInternet Explorer: Microsoft’s famous browser became the dominant browser in the late 90s, mostly becoming well-known due to its inclusion in Windows systems. Firefox: The very first version of Firefox, Phoenix 0.1, was released in 2002. In 2008, Firefox broke the Guinness record for “largest number of software downloads in 24 hours”, receiving about 8 million downloads. In 2013, Mozilla was named the most trusted internet company in privacy.

File:Google Chrome icon (2011).pngGoogle Chrome: Chrome was released to the public in 2008. Beta versions of Chrome were released for OS X and Linux in 2009. As of December 2014, according to W3Schools, this browser had the majority of the web browser market share, estimated at 61.36%, followed by Firefox at 23.6%, and Internet Explorer at 8%.

Forms of Internet Communication

Social Networking

File:Facebook Logo Mini.svgFacebook is a hugely popular social networking site

Social networking online began in 1994 with a site called Geocities. It was fairly simple and easy to learn. A few years later, instant messaging was introduced. Niche sites soon began appearing, and after 2000 came and went, the networking sites that are most well-known today began appearing. Today, there are social sites for just about every kind of whim, desire, orientation, or need that one can think of (the majority of which will not be named here, for obvious reasons).

Geocities: This site was created in 1994. Members were able to create their own web sites, which Geocities would allow them to place in groups called “cities” based on the content the user had placed on their site. The “cities” on Geocities were named after real cities, like entertainment sites being placed in Hollywood. There were also “neighborhoods”, which were more specific categories created by users. “Fashion Avenue” was for sites about fashion, “Area51” was about conspiracy theories, and there were many others.

Classmates: Classmates came out in 1995, and was designed to help people find former schoolmates, coworkers, and fellow service members via personal profiles. It has since suffered several legal and customer service problems, and has fallen in popularity.

AOL: In 1997, AOL’s instant messenger debuted. People were able to create their own personal profiles, chat with others, and search for particular users. They could provide a biography about themselves and include personal details, which along with the search feature, made it easy to find other people with similar interests.

LinkedIn: Launching in 2003, LinkedIn was initially a site where people could post their resumĂ©s. It gained over 4500 members in its first month. It later became a site for professional networking, allowing people to “follow” companies and workers, keep in touch with their fellow students and coworkers, and keep up with news in their chosen field.

MySpace: In the later half of 2003, MySpace came out. In addition to helping people connect with their friends (and strangers), it allowed users to get in touch with musicians or bands they were fans of. The site also let people play music from those artists on their own personal profiles. Another feature that made MySpace appealing was the fact that members could use HTML to create the look they wanted on their page.

Facebook: Originally available only to Harvard students, Facebook was made in 2004. In 2006, it became open to the public and by the end of 2008 it had over 100 million users. Features such as a simple display, the ability to keep up with family and friends, and businesses being able to advertise frequently and let many of their patrons interact with them directly have made Facebook very popular. People can quickly and easily spread the word of births, graduations, and little-known businesses and artists, and share their experiences with big companies. In many cases, this information can be spread throughout an entire community within a matter of days.


File:Gmail-highres 2.png The logo for Gmail, Google's popular email service.

Coming into the world back in the 70s, email has become a simple yet important part of our lives. We use them for everything, from simply sending pictures

to relatives, to getting updates from our favorite social sites and personal causes. Complete with tags and folders, it’s easy to separate and organize messages from work, school, and Amazon.

The first email was sent in 1971 from Raymond Tomlinson to a computer next to him over ARPANET. By the mid 80s, email was popular among professionals and students alike. In the 90s, “spam”–the email equivalent of junk mail–became a problem and the word spam was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. The first email from space was sent from the shuttle Atlantis in 1991 by Shannon Lucid and James Adamson.

The original BlackBerry phones came out on the market in 2003, mainly focusing on email, the first phones to have email as their main function. Smartphones and operating systems now come with email as a part of the operating system, and have several options for consumers who don’t want to use the bundled programs.

Wikis and Blogs Wikipedia's logo. Wikipedia is the most famous wiki.

A wiki is a collection of articles online that can be read and edited by the public. While this makes it easy to provide information and keep the wiki up to date, it also makes articles easy to put false information into, and can make it difficult to ensure the accuracy of the articles. Wiki articles are not generally considered reputable or useful for professional or academic purposes, but are often turned to for general information-seeking.

People who have been long-time visitors and contributors on the site Wikipedia, the most well-known wiki, have been granted site privileges. These include deleting pages and blocking certain IP addresses from accessing Wikipedia.

A blog is like an online journal. It may be used as a diary, or writing about stories and topics that the author finds interesting. Usually when an author writes about something that they have an interest in or want to speak on, they will provide a link to where they found good information on those topics or originally came across them. Many blogs have a certain focus, such as electronics, psychology, a certain fandom, or another topic.

The main page of a blog lists entries that have been made in reverse order. The newest entry is shown at the top of the list. The design and layout of the blog is generally up to the author, but the most basic options and features are true to most, if not all, blog sites. These entries are usually open to the public, but the author can choose to change the privacy of their blog.

Podcasts and Webcasts

A podcast is a video or audio broadcast that is distributed through the internet and downloaded onto a media device. These files are usually downloaded and played on smartphones and mp3 players. A podcast can be only 10 minutes long, or exceed an hour in length. Most users have a favorite program or application that will keep track of podcasts for them and allow them to download new podcasts right away.

Podcasts can be used for many different topics, or specific people and organizations. There are podcasts about finances, life improvement, psychology, and much more. Other podcasts are of TED talks, and there are those that come from certain public figures like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Michio Kaku.

Webcasts are live or delayed broadcasts over the internet, usually to a group of people at once. Seminars, sporting events, and concerts can all be the subjects of a webcast. Interactive events are usually not considered webcasts. Pre-recorded webcasts may remain online for quite some time, especially if they are done by instructors for a specific school course.

Streaming Media

Streaming is providing video or audio content that users can watch/listen to without needing or being able to download it. To use streaming media, the viewer or listener must have a constant connection to the internet for as long as the media lasts. YouTube is an example of streaming. The videos are stored by YouTube, but if the viewer’s internet connection goes out, an error message shows up. Pandora radio is also a streaming service, which allows people to listen to personalized “stations”.

Types of Commerce


The term “e-commerce” is short for “electronic commerce” and refers to purchases and sales made online. These transactions are most frequently pictured as business-to-consumer (buying products from Amazon, the Barnes and Noble site, etc) or consumer-to-consumer (think of Etsy, where people make products and sell them to other people on the site). They can also include business-to-business (manufacturers selling their products to distributors) or consumer-to-business (a consumer can post a project and its budget and allow different businesses to bid on it).


“M-commerce” is short for “mobile commerce”. This is a little different from “e-commerce”, as the name suggests. It focuses on making online transactions accessible via portable devices like smartphones and tablets. Apps for some online retailers are already available. Amazon and Etsy, mentioned above, both have mobile apps. Financial m-commerce is a popular area, allowing people to pay their bills and view their bank account from their mobile device.

Internet History



What is NCP (ARPANET’s old protocol):



Internet Explorer

  1. History:
  2. Logo: Picture is in the public domain


  1. Mozilla timeline:
  2. Most Trusted Company:
  3. Most Downloads:
  4. Firefox logo: Author: Whitecirius

Google Chrome

  1. History:
  2. Web browser popularity:
  3. Logo: Picture is in the public domain

Social Networking

  1. History1:
  2. History2:
    1. Classmates: Slide 1
    2. LinkedIn: Slide 5
    3. MySpace: Slide 7
    4. Facebook: Slide 9
  3. Classmates legal/CS issues:
  4. MySpace Features:
  5. Number of Facebook users 2008:
  6. Facebook popularity:
  7. Facebook logo from author Jer101jer


  1. History:
  2. Gmail logo from, Author: Valentyna Sagan

Wiki And Blog

  1. Wiki Ref: (pages 1 and 3)
  2. Blog Ref: (pages 2 and 3)
  3. Wikipedia logo from Author: nohat

Podcast And Webcast

  1. Podcast Ref1:
  2. Podcast Length Ref:
  3. Webcast Ref:

Streaming Media

Streaming media Ref:

E-Commerce and M-Commerce

  1. E-commerce ref:
  2. M-commerce ref:

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