Internet Basics

In Internet Basics, learn about the basic components of the World Wide Web and common tools that can make or break your Internet experience: search engines, Web browsers, RSS, spam and more.


It's been called a Google killer, but Stephen Wolfram's computational knowledge engine doesn't work like Google. So what does it do, and does it live up to its hype?

If you've joined MySpace, Facebook or one of the Web's other communities, you've accepted their terms of service. If you break those terms, did you break the law?

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 appeared only two years after its predecessor. What improvements are included in this next-generation Web browser?

Do you wallpaper your home or office with sticky notes? Perhaps an online reminder service would help you remember things and save paper, too.

Google is the undisputed leader in searching the Web, but the company doesn't like resting on its laurels. What other products does the Internet behemoth offer?

Many people assume that the World Wide Web and the Internet are one and the same. But despite its size, the Web contains only a small fraction of the content on the Internet.

Google Docs lets you work on word processing, spreadsheets and presentations from any Internet-enabled computer. Are you ready to toss your productivity software?

Google wants to organize all the information on the Internet, but to store that data, the company created its own computer file system.

Paper planners are portable and reliable but inflexible. And if you leave yours on your desk at home, you're out of luck when you get to work.

The evolution of dance, a laughing baby, Filipino inmates performing Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video: This is what we watch on YouTube. How did it get there?

The Internet is a giant system made up of smaller systems. If it's one thing, does it have one owner? Is there some person or entity that controls it?

Video sharing is one of the fastest growing mediums on the web. Learn more about video sharing in this article.

AOL Mail is a free Web-based e-mail service available from America Online. Learn more about AOL Mail and related topics in this article.

The Internet is an integral part of our daily lives. How did we function before online shopping and bill pay? And what does the satellite Sputnik have to do with how the internet started?

Mahalo is a new search engine that aims to give users a hassle-free experience. By relying on real, live people instead of complex algorithms, Mahalo produces relevant search results.

Obsessively checking e-mail. Playing online games for 12 hours or more at a time. Placing more value on chat-room friends than real ones. Just what is computer addiction, and why do some doctors disagree over whether it exists at all?

Online maps are great for people who get lost easily, and they're just plain fun for figuring out where stuff is. But Google Earth is no ordinary map.

Streaming video and audio has come a very long way since the mid-to-late 1990s, when streaming media suffered from poor quality and slow load times.

It's happened to almost all of us at some point in our Web surfing experience -- you're visiting a new site when all of a sudden your screen begins to fill with boxes advertising goods and services. Enter the pop-up blocker.

Someone at the CIA is editing Wikipedia entries about lightsabers. How do we know? The Wikipedia Scanner. Virgil Griffith created the WikiScanner to catch politicians, corporations and government agencies in the act of trying to change their Wikipedia entries anonymously.

In less than a decade, Google evolved from a two-man enterprise to a multibillion-dollar corporation. How did a school project become the most influential search engine on the Web?

Podcasting may be the ultimate democratization of radio. Anyone with an Internet connection and some inexpensive audio equipment can produce their own podcast and make it available online.

Five years after the debut of IE6, Microsoft released the first truly upgraded version of its Web browser. Take a look at what made it such a dramatic improvement.

Online photo-sharing sites let you upload and share your digital photos with anyone you choose. There are quite a few sites you can use, but check out an example in this article.

Pandora Radio is different from other Internet radio sites. Instead of relying on genre, user connections or ratings, it uses a Music Genome. What is this Music Genome and how does it know what songs you like best?