Six Innovations That Have Improved Our Lives Online

Web innovation

The World Wide Web is considered one of the most fantastic inventions of all time and has changed daily life for billions of people across the globe in the short time that it's been around. In this article, we're going to take a look at six inventions that are making the Web easier to use for millions of people around the world.

Websites Hosted In The “Cloud”

You might not know exactly what cloud computing is, but the chances are very high that you've used it or are using it right now. Cloud computing consists of hardware and software resources made available on the Internet as managed third-party services. These services typically provide access to advanced software applications and high-end networks of server computers. Cloud computing makes it possible for us to use all sorts of revolutionary services; from online file sharing to free online storage services , as well as access to very high volume sites that require a lot of computing power in order to best serve their users.​

Social Media

Social media is a relatively new phenomenon that makes it possible for people all over the world to connect via a wide variety of communication platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, to LinkedIn to Pinterest. These sites have fundamentally changed the way we use the Web, are integrated in with nearly every website you might visit online, and for a growing number of people are the primary platform by which they access much of their content online. 

Infrastructure of the Internet

Right now, you’re viewing the information in this article using a Web browser. You accessed the Internet via a technology called TCP/IP. You are browsing the Web via a series of hyperlinks and URLs, the structure on which the Web was initially visualized by Sir Tim Berners Lee, and you’re able to see all of this via HTML and other markup languages. Without this seemingly simple structure, the Web as we know it would not exist.

Instant Communication

Do you remember life before email? "Snail mail", while still used by billions of people all around the world, took a back seat to an instant communication made possible by email, instant messaging, and video calling. How many emails do we send in a day, all free? Think about how your life would be different if you didn't have this amazing invention at your fingertips every time you log on. 

Free Information

How would we ever get along without massive information databases to fuel our insatiable quest for knowledge? Even if you spent 24 hours a day consuming the information that is constantly added to these wonderful resources online, you wouldn't even make a dent. From Wikipedia to Project Gutenberg to Google Books to IMDb, we have an amazing variety and depth of knowledge available at our fingertips. Remember the days when you had to look something up in an encyclopedia? Now those books are becoming collector's items. And let's not forget the amazing Invisible Web, a vast network of databases that is estimated to be more than 500 times larger than the Web we can easily access with just a simple query. True seekers of knowledge know that the Web is a dream come true.

From free college classes to free textbooks to a huge variety of education for free on the Web, the online education movement is growing exponentially. Globally, people from around the world log on to the Internet daily to take classes, learn something new, and improve their skills. The amount of knowledge available - for free! - is mind-boggling. 

Services That Solve A Problem – For Free

Search engines encompass some of the most complicated programming on the planet, yet most of us take advantage of these amazing creations nearly every day. From Google to Baidu to Wolfram Alpha, think about how amazing it is to simply type a query into a search box and get back an answer that is relevant, makes sense, and helps you solve a problem. 

How about translation services (like Google Translate) that make it possible to decipher something in another language in mere seconds? Or interactive maps, such as Google MapsBing Maps, and MapQuest, that you can use to create a roadmap, find directions, and even plan a walking route?

Financial services: the gamut runs from PayPal to Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies to even accessing your bank accounts via a Web browser rather than driving to a bank and standing in line. How about massive online stores like eBay and Amazon that changed the shopping landscape – but let’s not forget the “mom and pop” stores that have found it possible to thrive via a wide variety of online marketplaces, including CraigslistEtsy, and other storefronts.