Over the past 20 years the World Wide Web has helped to define and change the way that we process news, information and entertainment. In fact, along with powered flight, satellite technology and the creation of the standardised assembly line, the internet has had one of the most profound effects on the modern world. Thanks to constant innovation this has not changed, and today there are many web technologies that we take for granted that have changed our lives for the better. These include, what are in our opinion, the following top 5 internet innovations:
1. Web Browsers
Where would we be without the humble Web browser? This is arguably THE technology that allowed the creation of what today we call the Internet experience. Without web browsers the internet would become a very boring place. Every web browser since Mosaic in 1993 has allowed us to retrieve online data in a usable format, and today the industry is dominated by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the open source Mozilla Firefox, Apple’s Safari and Google’s open source Chrome browser.
2. Search Engines
Being able to see and interact with Web pages using a browser is important, but what use would it be if you could not find anything you were looking for while online? Enter the search engines that changed the way we look for online information! These include:
- Ask Jeeves
Today Google is the dominant force in the search engine world, and is one of the few of the “big 3” search engines that consist of Google, Yahoo! and Bing, that have successfully monetized search results.
The introduction of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, has become a mainstream technology thanks in part to Skype. This technology allows users to make free or very cheap calls around the globe in real time. It also included premium features that were once only reserved for business use. These include:
- Caller ID
- Call Waiting
- Conference Calling
This has literally changed the way that we communicate, and has helped to make the world a smaller place when talking face to face over long distances.
Really Simple Syndication, or RSS for short, is one of the online technologies that completely revolutionised the way that we consume information. This is because it allows websites that we “opt into” to “push” content directly through to us via a desktop or Web-based RSS feed reader. This has allowed us to become passive information consumers as we no longer have to continuously search a sea of information to find what interests us. It has also allowed for news coverage that is geared and focused towards the individual content consumer.
5. The Real-Time Stream
Real-time information has created a literal paradigm shift in the way we share information with each other. It has allowed us, via real-time status update platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, to news, ideas and media instantly. It is moving people away from search based content discovery and allowing them to find content using real-time interactions. In other words the real-time stream is improving the way we communicate by making information instantly available.