Internet is a vast network of computers that connects many of the world’s businesses, institutions, and individuals. The Internet, which means interconnected network of networks, links tens of thousands of smaller computer networks. It enables computer users throughout the world to send and receive messages, share information in a variety of forms, and even play computer games with people thousands of miles away. Computers linked to the Internet range from simple and inexpensive personal computers, often called PC’s, to huge mainframe computers used by government institutions, educational institutions, and businesses.
Computers require special hardware and software to connect to the Internet. Necessary hardware includes a modem, a device that translates a computer’s digital information into signals that can be transmitted over telephone lines (MODEM). Required software includes a communications program that allows the transmission and receipt of messages. The Internet, often called simply the Net, began as a collection of text-based information. But the development and rapid growth of a part of the Internet called the World Wide Web (also known as WWW or the Web), transformed the presentation of information on the Net. In addition to text, the Web allows the use of photographs, moving pictures, and sound to create presentations approaching the visual quality of television and the audio quality of recorded music.
USES OF THE INTERNET
The major uses of the Internet include communication, research, publishing, and sales. Communication. Probably the most popular use of the Internet and the Web is e-mail, also called electronic mail. Virtually every Internet user is assigned an electronic address from which e-mail messages are sent and at which they are received. The Internet carries hundreds of millions of email messages each day.
Research. The Internet is like a vast library, containing as much knowledge on every subject as might be held in millions of books. Information is available in many forms, from files consisting only of text to multimedia files that combine text, photos, animation or video, software programs, and sound. Internet resources grow larger every day. Because of the ease with which information is stored on computers, and the speed with which it can be accessed, the Internet is a popular first stop for many people performing research. A businessperson might search Internet resources for help in developing sales or product information.
Students can access databases to find material related to homework assignments or courses of study. Physicians use the Net to compare medical treatments and to review advances in medical science. Scientists share research data on the Internet. Publishing. Publishers are increasingly using the Internet as a medium for presenting newspapers, magazines, and books. Because information on the Net is electronic, the publisher is freed from the costs of paper, printing, and distribution. More importantly, the publisher can update information instantly, making it possible to distribute far more current news than could be provided on paper. Sales. Many businesses use the Internet to carry on commerce. Retail establishments sell nearly every type of product over the Internet. Software publishers view the Net as a convenient and inexpensive way to distribute products. Over the Internet, users can buy new programs, sample programs before purchasing them, or receive upgrades to programs they already own. Users generally make Internet purchases with credit cards.