Monday, March 6, 2023

Internet Secrets Revealed in 8 Minutes

Internet Secrets Revealed in 8 Minutes

While the internet has brought many benefits and advancements, it holds many secrets and mysteries. From the Dark Web to anonymous hackers, there are many fascinating facts and secrets about the internet. 

Exploring the secrets of the internet can be an exciting and eye-opening experience that reveals the true nature of this powerful tool.

Google is the world's largest website: As of 2021, Google is the world's largest website, with more than 9.5 billion visits per month.

This is probably not the internet’s biggest secret, given that Google is the world's most widely used search engine, with a market share of over 90%. 

Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two PhD students at Stanford University. They initially created Google as a research project - Their goal was to build a search engine to understand the context and intent behind a user's query rather than just matching keywords. 

This Google search engine quickly gained popularity thanks to its simple and intuitive interface, fast and accurate search results, and commitment to providing a high-quality user experience.

As you likely well know, Google has expanded beyond search to offer a wide range of products and services, including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and YouTube. Today, Google is one of the most valuable companies in the world, with a market capitalization of over $1.5 trillion!

However, did you know Google was not the first search engine?

The first search engine was called Archie: Archie, short for "archive," was the first search engine created in 1990 by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Only a few people know about Archie. Alan designed the search engine to help users find files on the disorganized fledgling internet.

Archie worked by downloading directory listings from public FTP (file transfer protocol) sites and creating a searchable index of available files. Users could enter a search term, and Archie would return a list of relevant files, ranked by the number of times the search term appeared in the file's name or description. 

Archie was a rudimentary search engine, which was a significant milestone in the development of the internet. Before Archie, there was no easy way to find files on the largely decentralized and unstructured network. 

Archie paved the way for modern search engines powered by complex algorithms and sophisticated artificial intelligence.

The internet is not a physical entity: The internet is not a physical entity but rather a network of connected computers and servers.

We often describe the internet as “digital” or “virtual”. After all, the internet is not physical like land or a building. You can visit a server or use a physical computer, but that’s not the internet. So, what is it? 

At the heart of it, the internet is simply a network of connected computers through routers, switches, and other networking equipment. This network allows computers to communicate with each other and share information regardless of their physical location.

Yes, there are physical components that make up the internet. For example, the networking equipment and the servers that host websites and other online services are indeed physical. 

But the internet is not a physical object that can be touched or seen. Instead, it is a network of information that exists in the digital realm and can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

Most emails sent are spam: The term "spam" was first used in 1993 to describe unwanted email messages, inspired by a Monty Python sketch in which a group of Vikings repeatedly chant the word "spam."

Unwanted or unsolicited messages are often called “spam”. This is because spam messages are sent to many people, usually through email. 

The term "spam" originally referred to a type of canned meat popular in the United States in the mid-20th century. In the early days of the internet, the term was adopted to describe unsolicited emails, seen as just as unappetising and uninvited as canned meat.

However, spam goes beyond a mere unwanted nuisance. As much as 85% of all email sent daily is spam. This flood of unwanted messages can be annoying and dangerous, with many spam messages containing malicious links or attachments that can infect computers with viruses or other malware. 

That’s why many email providers and internet service providers try to use filters and other technologies to block unwanted messages before they reach users' inboxes.

The first online purchase was a pizza: In 1994, a man named Dan Kohn used his credit card to purchase a pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut using the internet.

Did you know you could make online purchases as far back as this?

Picture it: It's 1994, and the internet is just gaining traction as a tool for communication, commerce, and everything in between. Dan Kohn was hungry and craving a pepperoni pizza, but he didn't feel like picking up the phone to place an order. So instead, he decided to try something new and innovative - he used his computer and logged on to the early ‘net to order a pizza online from Pizza Hut. 

Kohn placed his order online, and Pizza Hut delivered the pizza to his door. What seemed like a small and insignificant event was a groundbreaking moment in the history of e-commerce. 

It proved that the internet could change how we buy and sell goods and services, and it paved the way for the accessible, convenient (maybe too convenient!) online shopping revolution that we know and use today.

We’re not the only ones online: Besides humans, the internet is also used by a wide range of devices and machines, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, servers, and more. 

Did you know robots surf? We don’t mean crawler bots search engines. Many modern robots have internet connectivity, allowing them to communicate with other machines and human operators. This is useful in manufacturing and logistics.

And then there are animals. I’m not just talking about cat videos - chimpanzees and orangutans have been known to use touchscreens to interact with apps and play games. 

Some researchers have even used the internet to connect primates in different parts of the world, allowing them to communicate with each other and engage in social interactions. 

Then, of course, there’s also that pet goldfish who accidentally racked up a massive bill for their owner in a live stream (the video kind) - so maybe it’s a bit early to let your pet play video games! At least not unsupervised.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another non-human entity increasingly becoming connected to the internet. AI algorithms and systems are used in various applications, from self-driving cars to financial trading and online customer service. 

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