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15 Incredible Internet Innovations That Changed Everything

15 Incredible Internet Innovations That Changed Everything


The Internet has not only made the world a much smaller place, but it has also put information right at our fingertips. Whether we want to book a pan Atlantic flight or read about the biggest conspiracy theories in the world, there is absolutely nothing we can’t find on the internet. In fact, now if we can’t find something on the internet, we just assume it doesn’t exist.

Snapchat filters, cat memes, and gifs – a lot has changed in the last decade. So much so that it has changed the way we live. Web browsers help us access millions of websites, VoIP technology allows us to communicate and talk to people all around the world, WiFi’s let us connect to our neighbor’s Internet, Peer-to-Peer technology allows us to send and receive files, and GPS always helps us get home. While you might think most of the innovations are rather new, technologies like GPS date back to the Second World War and email was first developed in the early 1960’s.

In this article, we have put together all the internet innovations that completely changed everything for us and the rest of the coming generations. Here are 15 incredible internet innovations that you must know about:

15. Web browsers


As you read this article on a web browser, you are bound to realize the importance of browsers for the entire internet environment. Without browsers, there wouldn’t have been any websites of any kind. First released in 1991, browsers have clearly come a long way from Netscape Navigator which was launched in 1994 and Internet Explorer which came out in 1995. Of course, modern browsers Chrome and Firefox are far more advanced than their predecessors with add-ons and extensions to add functionality. So much so that we don’t even need to use any apps on our desktop anymore, everything is easily accessible through web browsers.

14. Search engines

We have web browsers where we can access websites, but we are only able to discover webpages through search engines. If you are old enough to have experienced the 90s and early 2000s internet, then you might remember old school searchable web directories and search engines like Ask Jeeves, Infoseek, AltaVista, Yahoo, and WebCrawler. Then, of course, Google launched its search engine with the goal of indexing just about every web page in the world. Because of its swiftness and wide indexing, it soon became one of the most popular search engines and today; we don’t even use the term ‘search engines’ anymore, all we say is – Google it!

13. Banner ads


While you might hate ads on the internet, the fact is without ads and a fixed revenue stream, many of the websites that you love visiting every day wouldn’t have been able to provide the same quality content, or they might have ended up charging you for it. The first banner ad ever created was for AT&T which was done by Joe McCambley in 1994. The ad was all-text, it appeared on and said – “Have you ever clicked your mouse here?” Upon clicking, the user was taken to a different site which showed a virtual tour of seven top museums of the world. The whole idea behind this simple ad campaign was to show that AT&T could take you anywhere.

12. VoIP


Another revolutionary internet innovation which has enabled us to talk for hours with our friends living in different parts of the world without having to worry about phone bills is Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP. The technology allows voice to be transmitted over IP networks. VoIP was first developed in the early 1970s, but it truly came into the hands of the public with Skype, which now has more than 520 million users that use Skype every day to make voice and video calls all around the world. Of course, now we have other services too like Google Allo and Duo, Facetime, and WhatsApp.

11. Real-time stream


There was a time when websites were created online, and it would take forever for someone to notice that website in the search engine results. Maybe you searched a really complicated keyword or just a question you have always wondered, and suddenly, you were taken to a website that you never knew existed. But with real-time updates from social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, the way we interact with websites and users has completely changed. Now blogs and videos go viral in just an hour, and we are served up so many different websites every second.

10. RSS


While you might have heard the term RSS before, you might not know that the term stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a technology which allows websites to push updates like news articles and blog posts directly to the user. The user, in turn, can either view these updates on a web based or desktop RSS feed reader, or they can also have the updates directly emailed to them. This allows users to stay updated with fresh content without having to visit each one of their favorite websites over and over again. RSS has not only changed the way users interact with content, but it has also changed the way website owners provide content.

9. Peer to peer


While it might be a bit easier to imagine your life without Netflix, can you really imagine how different life would be if it weren’t for torrents? Peer-to-Peer (P2P) technology allows data to be transferred from one computer to the other. So, the reason you are able to send and receive big files easily online is that of P2P. Today, P2P traffic accounts for 25-50% of the total internet traffic, and it’s not just limited to illegal torrents. It is actually P2P technology which allowed people to share MP3 music files and ultimately paved the way for iPods, and later iTunes and other music stores.



Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) allows websites and web applications to directly display new and updated content without reloading the page. Sounds boring? Imagine if you had to refresh the page every time you typed anything on Google Docs, or you were trying to find something on a Google Map? Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t have to do all that because of AJAX. The technology has been able to provide desktop-like experience to web applications, and it is now used by a number of web apps all around the world including Netflix, Yahoo, and Twitter.

7. Software as a Service


Just like other technologies on the list, Software as a Service (SaaS) has been around for a long time, but it has only begun being used by the public in the last decade. By adding SaaS with AJAX, software is developed which is available on-demand online, and their data is stored in the cloud. The biggest advantage of SaaS apps is that you can use these pieces of software from any web browser and access the data from anywhere, as long as you are connected to the internet. This means you don’t have to carry your local drive or external drive with you anywhere. But of course, the biggest disadvantage of these services is that when the SaaS app goes down, there is no way to access your data.

6. E-commerce


Today, we order most of our stuff online. Before leaving the house, we have a habit of checking Amazon or eBay to see if there are any great deals available. And if there is overnight delivery available, there is no way we are walking to the store. E-commerce has built a big industry all over the world, and that has been possible because of the internet. From furniture to socks, everything that we need is now available online and shipped to our doorstep. Of course, it was Amazon and eBay that started it all when they were launched in 1995.

5. WiFi


Remember back in the day when you had to plug that annoying DSL cable into your computer? Because of the cable, we couldn’t move away from the modem, and the most annoying part was definitely when the clipper part of the cable broke off. But now thanks to WiFi, we can sit wherever we want and access the internet, without having to worry about cables. Not to mention, more than one person can connect the internet at the same time. The best part, though – Free WiFi. Could you imagine going into a café and asking for a DSL cable instead of their WiFi password?

4. Downloadable music


It was in 1993 when the first major label, Geffen Records, released a song by Aerosmith called “Head First” online which was available for download. Downloadable music on the Internet forever changed the way the music industry works. While many people considered the internet as a place for only illegal music which could be easily downloaded, visionaries like Steve Jobs thought otherwise. It might have taken Apple some time, but iTunes was finally launched in 2003. And today, downloadable music has made it possible for independent artists to earn from their music, without having to sign with big labels. That is the power of the internet.

3. Email


It was in the early 1960s when email was first used when scientists and researchers would leave messages for each other in a mailbox online that could only be accessed through the same terminal. Later, United States Defence Department hired a company Bolt Beranek and Newman to work on the ARPANET and create a file transfer protocol. One of the BNN employees, Ray Tomlinson, realized that to be able to send files and data to other users, there needed to be an identifier similar to a mailing address. He needed unique identifier, so it was easy for users to identify an email address and for that, he used the ‘@’ symbol, and that changed everything.

2. Domains and websites


Being able to buy your own domain and develop websites is the most fun and amazing part of the internet. And the fact that anyone can do it makes the whole thing so much easier. The first ever domain bought was The domain was registered in March of 1985 by Symbolics Computer Corporation which was based in Cambridge. The website is still live, and it displays statistics about the domain. After Symbolics, DEC was bought by Compaq, which was subsequently bought by HP. Today, there are more than 300 million website domains in the world.

1. GPS


Don’t you just love it that you can be anywhere in the world and you never have to ask for directions? You can turn on the GPS on your phone, enter the destination, and off you go. Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, was actually first developed during the Second World War. But that was a very basic predecessor, and a more advanced version was developed by the Soviet Union in 1957. Soon, GPS technology started being used for military purposes and for tracking commercial airplanes. But the public had to wait a long time to get their hands on the GPS system with the launch of both Google and Nokia’s navigation systems.

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